The New Jersey Department of Health licensed Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Medical Center to perform a radiation treatment called peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PPRT) using the drug LUTATHERA® for adults with advanced, cancerous neuroendocrine tumors that develop in the gastrointestinal tract and pancreas. This drug is FDA-approved and has been used to treat patients since 2018.
It is estimated that more than 12,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) annually, and the number of people diagnosed with this type of tumor has increased. This is thought to be attributed to improvements in testing, diagnostics and increased awareness of these tumors.
The drug is administered by intravenous (IV) infusion between eight weeks and 16-weeks apart. A full course of therapy consists of four doses. Different from most cancer medicines, LUTATHERA specifically targets and enters cells with somatostatin receptors - such as those found in the neuroendocrine tumors in the gut - and their neighboring cells. Treatment takes place in a specially designated treatment room in the hospital’s Infusion Center. Anti-nausea medicine, and amino acids are also given to protect the patients’ kidneys from radiation.
Brett Lewis, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of radiation oncology at Mountainside, has been administering the treatment at Hackensack Meridian John Theurer Cancer Center since 2019. “I am excited that Mountainside received licensure to administer PPRT treatment,” said Dr. Lewis. “Bringing the latest, targeted cancer therapies to the hospital means that our local community does not need to travel out of the area to receive the advanced care they need.”
“Providing patients with a high level of care is our priority,” said Tim O’Brien, chief executive officer. “The collaboration between the multidisciplinary teams at the hospital that helped to develop and launch this program shows our commitment to bringing the latest in life-saving and life-extending treatments to our community.”