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Hoag Launches First In United States Myeloma Imaging Trial and First in Orange County Prostate Cancer Molecular Therapy Trial

Categories: Press Room

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., April 19, 2021 --- Hoag Family Cancer Institute announced the opening of two additional molecular imaging and therapy trials, the first to be offered in Orange County and in the United States. Hoag’s Molecular Imaging & Therapy Program is helping to pioneer the most sensitive imaging and therapy methods to date to advance research and applications of molecular imaging and therapy. These trials are expected to play a significant role in the future of cancer detection, individualized treatment and drug development, and they are available at Hoag today.

The opening of the CD38 myeloma trial offers advanced cancer detection for this rare disease. Hoag is the first in the nation to offer this Phase 2 study, brought to Hoag by Gary Ulaner, M.D., Ph.D., FACNM, director of the Hoag Molecular Imaging and Therapy Program, and funded through the National Health Institute. The trial will test the use of a highly targeted molecular imaging agent in the earliest detection and location of a patient’s myeloma. This could offer oncologists valuable insight into more effective, less toxic, targeted treatment options for this deadly disease.

Dr. Ulaner led the Phase 1 arm of the study before coming to Hoag from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

The PSMA I-131 trial for prostate cancer will be the county’s first molecular therapy trial and is funded by Hoag philanthropy. Dr. Ulaner explained the therapy tested in this Phase 2 trial is a type of radioligand, which is made of two parts: a ligand, which can find specific surface molecules on cancer cells, and a radioisotope, which emits therapeutic radiation to kill cancer cells. Because the radioligand can target cells anywhere in the body, they show promise for metastatic cancer treatment.

“This trial will evaluate a promising new therapy against a type of prostate cancer known as prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA)-avid metastatic prostate cancer,” Dr. Ulaner said. “Agents like the one in this trial, have been incredibly successful in prolonging patient’s lives and improving their quality of life. We are very excited to offer this to our community.”

Hoag was selected as one of only 41 hospitals in the nation to participate in this trial.

“Hoag is pioneering many promising cancer imaging and therapy studies, many of which I expect will become standard of care in the future,” said Dr. Ulaner. “Orange County patients are gaining access to some of the most exclusive trials. Hoag is pleased to offer this level of personalized cancer care to our great community.”

For more information about both trials, visit www.hoag.org/mit.


Hoag is a nonprofit, regional health care delivery network in Orange County, California, that treats more than 30,000 inpatients and 480,000 outpatients annually. Hoag consists of two acute-care hospitals – Hoag Hospital Newport Beach, which opened in 1952, and Hoag Hospital Irvine, which opened in 2010 – in addition to nine health centers and 13 urgent care centers. Hoag has invested $261 million in programs and services to support the underserved community within the past five years, including areas like mental health, homelessness, transportation for seniors, education, and support for single mothers. Hoag is a designated Magnet® hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Hoag offers a comprehensive blend of health care services that includes five institutes providing specialized services in the following areas: cancer, heart and vascular, neurosciences, women’s health, and orthopedics through Hoag’s affiliate, Hoag Orthopedic Institute, which consists of an orthopedic hospital and two ambulatory surgical centers. In the 2020 - 2021 U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals Rankings, Hoag is the highest ranked hospital in Orange County and the only OC hospital ranked in the Top 10 in California. For an unprecedented 23 years, residents of Orange County have chosen Hoag as one of the county’s best hospitals in a local newspaper survey. Visit www.hoag.org for more information.