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Saint Barnabas Medical Center Offers New Treatment for Patients with Gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors

Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SBMC), in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey — the state’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, is offering a new treatment for cancer patients with gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs), called Lutathera®. Lutathera is a radioactive targeted therapy that is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion once every eight weeks for a total of four treatments. GEP-NETs can be present in the pancreas and in different parts of the gastrointestinal tract such as the stomach, intestines, colon and rectum. According to the FDA, it is estimated that approximately one out of 27,000 people are diagnosed with GEP-NETs per year.

“GEP-NETs are rare cancers and, until now, have had limited treatment options after initial therapy stops working,” says Raquel Wagman, MD, Radiation Oncologist, SBMC.

The drug is made up of two components, a targeting component and a radioactive component. First, the Lutathera binds to a special receptor on the cancer cell, called a somatostatin receptor. After binding to the receptor, the radiation kills the cancer cells. This treatment has been shown to reduce the chance of disease progression by 79%.

“These types of targeted radiopharmaceuticals are the way of the future,” says Dr. Wagman. “They allow targeting of specific cells, and are able to distinguish cancer cells from nearby normal cells.”

For more information about Lutathera, or to see if this treatment option is right for you, call The Department of Radiation Oncology at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, 973.322.5630.