Saint Francis Offers New Treatment Choice for Prostate Cancer

New Drug Therapy Kills Cancer Cells and Relieves Pain 

(Hartford, Conn. July 8, 2013) – Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center is among the first hospitals in the nation to offer a new radioactive injection treatment for prostate cancer patients with bone metastases. 

"At Saint Francis, we continually strive to be at the forefront of leading-edge treatments and technology. The addition of Radium 223 for our prostate cancer patients helps us continue to deliver the most advanced care to our patients," said Richard C. Shumway, M.D., Senior Attending Physician, Radiation Oncology at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center.  

Approved by the FDA in May, Xofigo® (radium Ra 223 dichloride) is targeted toward men with advanced prostate cancer whose disease has spread to the bone but not to other organs. The treatment is administered by intravenous injection every four weeks for six months, for a total of six IV treatments. Each treatment takes about 60 seconds and patients are able to leave after a 20-minute visit. 

Saint Francis is only one of two hospitals in Connecticut currently offering the new treatment to patients.  

Xofigo® is injected into the vein and collects in the bone. The radiation produced by the drug kills the cancer cells and reduces pain caused by bone metastases. Spread of cancer to the bones can also result in other problems, such as fractures (breaks) or high blood calcium levels, which can be dangerous and even life-threatening.   

 “This is a very promising new treatment,” said Alessia Donadio, M.D., Medical Oncologist at Saint Francis. “Early results have shown improved overall survival rates and reduced pain.” 

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men (after skin cancer), but it can often be treated successfully. The ACS estimates that 238,590 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed this year and approximately 29,720 men will die of prostate cancer. About one man in six will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Nearly two thirds are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 67.  

Xofigo® is co-marketed in the United States by Wayne, NJ-based Bayer Pharmaceuticals and Algeta US of Cambridge, MA. 


About Saint Francis Care 

Saint Francis Care is an integrated healthcare delivery system established by Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, an anchor institution in north central Connecticut since 1897.  Licensed for 617 beds and 65 bassinets, it is a major teaching hospital and the largest Catholic hospital in New England.  Other major entities of Saint Francis Care include The Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital, the Connecticut Joint Replacement Institute, the Hoffman Heart and Vascular Institute of Connecticut, the Saint Francis/Mount Sinai Regional Cancer Center, the Joyce D. and Andrew J. Mandell Center for Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care and Neuroscience Research, and Saint Francis HealthCare Partners.  Johnson Memorial Medical Center, parent organization of Johnson Memorial Hospital, Evergreen Health Care Center, and Home and Community Health Services is also a Saint Francis Care Partner.  Saint Francis Care’s services are supported by a network of five major Access Centers and eight additional medical office centers sited throughout the region.  For more information, visit