Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and partner Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital New Brunswick, are the first in the state to administer a form of targeted cancer treatment known as peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT), a nuclear medicine therapy for rare neuroendocrine tumors that have spread beyond the initial tumor site.
The first patient received treatment Oct. 24 at RWJUH in New Brunswick.
The PRRT treatment was approved earlier this year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for adult use and is not widely available across the U.S. at this time. In New Jersey, it is only available at Rutgers Cancer Institute.
Neuroendocrine tumors are abnormal growths that begin in specialized cells, called neuroendocrine cells, and have traits similar to nerve cells and hormone-producing cells. The tumors are rare and can occur anywhere in the body, mostly in the lungs, appendix, small intestine, rectum and pancreas. They can be noncancerous or cancerous.
“PRRT works differently than chemotherapy in that it targets a specific receptor in neuroendocrine tumors. For patients with low- or intermediate-grade pancreas or gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors, this is the first FDA-approved targeted radiopharmaceutical treatment for this population,” Dr. Amanda Laird, chief of endocrine surgery at Rutgers Cancer Institute and associate professor of surgery at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School said. “It provides those patients whose disease progresses on standard care with an opportunity for improved outcomes.”
Rutgers Cancer Institute Director and Senior Vice President of Oncology Services for RWJBarnabas Health, Dr. Steven K. Libutti, said that the ability to offer such a unique form of therapy is a testament to a recently solidified partnership with RWJBarnabas Health. “Our combined expertise in the management of neuroendocrine tumors enables us to deliver this targeted treatment to the people of New Jersey and the region – treatment that is not available elsewhere in the state.”