New radiologic therapy is available at Mountainside for patients with neuroendocrine tumors

GLEN RIDGE / MONTCLAIR, NJ — The New Jersey Department of Health has licensed Mountainside Medical Center, a Hackensack Meridian Health facility located in Glen Ridge and Montclair, to perform a radiation treatment called peptide receptor radionuclide therapy using the drug Lutathera for adults with advanced, cancerous neuroendocrine tumors that develop in 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 United States are diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor annually, and the number of people diagnosed with this type of tumor has increased. This is thought to be attributed to improvements in testing and diagnostics, as well as increased awareness of these tumors.

The drug is administered by intravenous 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 is given, as are amino acids to protect the patients’ kidneys from radiation.

Dr. Brett Lewis, 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,” Lewis said. “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,” Mountainside CEO Tim O’Brien said. “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 lifesaving and life-extending treatments to our community.”