The Bassett Cancer Institute in Cooperstown, NY is now offering Lutathera™ (lutetium Lu 177 dotatate) as a treatment for metastatic carcinoid tumors, also referred to as gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs), that carry the hormone receptor somatostatin.
This new treatment for neuroendocrine cancer is improving outcomes for this rare type of cancer. The Bassett Cancer Institute is the first to offer Lutathera treatments in our region of Central New York State and we’re proud to provide this therapy to our patients and neighbors throughout the state.
Click here to download our Lutathera therapy brochure.
What is Lutathera?
Lutathera is a radioactive targeted therapy and a type of peptide receptor radionuclide therapy, or PRRT. It is a prescription treatment for adults with GEP-NETs, which are tumors of the neuroendocrine cells in the stomach, gut (foregut, midgut, or hindgut), or pancreas that sometimes make hormones, causing symptoms such as flushing (temporary reddening of the skin) and diarrhea.
Lutathera treatment helps to slow or stop tumor growth altogether, and may also help to manage the symptoms caused by the tumors.
How Does a Lutathera Treatment Work?
Lutathera is considered a radiopharmaceutical, which is a prescription medication developed from radioactive materials. The drug preferentially binds to the somatostatin receptor, which GEP-NET tumor cells usually have more of compared to normal cells. Prior to Lutathera treatment, a special scan is done to ensure the medication will bind effectively to the tumors. Lutathera is given through an IV infusion and, after the drug binds to the receptors, the medication penetrates the cancerous cells and releases radiation to damage and kill them.
Difference Between Lutathera and Other Treatments
The main difference between this type of treatment and other therapies for GEP-NETs is that it allows cell-specific targeted radiation. Most radiation treatments are given externally, by delivering multiple beams of radiation from many angles all aimed at the tumor. With GEP-NETs, externally delivered radiation cannot safely treat all of the disease. Using Lutathera radiation therapy, we are able to target all the tumors in the body through the somatostatin receptor in a simple IV therapy. This makes the treatment more efficient and effective.
Lutathera Therapy at Bassett Medical Center
At Bassett Medical Center, you will spend the day on campus in our cancer treatment center for your Lutathera treatment. We will first administer medication to protect your kidneys and to prevent any nausea. The radiation is then administered intravenously over the course of a half hour with close physician and nursing supervision. After the treatment, you will receive medication and fluids for three additional hours. This treatment is repeated every 8-12 weeks for a total of four treatments.
Patients will have lab testing to monitor blood counts throughout the course of the treatment. This is to make sure that your blood cell counts (the amounts of the different types of cells in your blood) stay at their usual levels during your treatment. These tests can be done conveniently at a lab or clinic near your home. If travel is an issue, follow-up visits between treatments can be provided done by phone or video through telemedicine without the need to travel. The Bassett Cancer Institute team will collaborate with your primary oncologist to develop an overall care plan that will work best for you.
Patients, including their families and/or caretakers, who are traveling to Cooperstown for a Lutathera treatment can enjoy the nearby lake, parks, and multiple attractions – including the Baseball Hall of Fame. Learn more about our local accommodations and the Cooperstown area.
For more information about Lutathera therapy, or for any questions about cancer symptoms or treatment, please call the Bassett Cancer Institute at 607-547-3336 or visit Lutathera’s FAQ webpage.
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Bassett Healthcare Network delivers Lutathera treatments to patients throughout Upstate and Central New York at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, NY.