A 31-year-old San Diego resident became the first in the county to receive a new targeted cancer therapy involving a radioactive drug, Scripps Health announced Wednesday.
Paradise Hills resident William Apodaca received an infusion of Lutathera, which treats tumors in the pancreas and/or gastrointestinal tract that test positive for the hormone receptor somatostatin. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Lutathera earlier this year, according to Scripps. The drug uses radioactively-charged proteins that attack and destroy cancer cells.
“The availability of Lutathera is a big advancement, because historically there have been limited options for patients with (gastrointestinal tumors) who don’t respond to other treatments,” said Dr. Marin Xavier, a hematologist and medical oncologist at the Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center. “This gives us a new treatment option that has the potential to delay the need for long-term chemotherapy or oral cancer therapy. And now that this therapy is available in San Diego, patients don’t need to travel out of town to receive it.”
The drug is administered in four intravenous doses, with patients receiving one dose every other month. According to Scripps, the drug is meant to combat tumors when other treatment methods have proved ineffective by slowing the tumor’s progress and stabilizing the cancer’s spread.
Apodaca, who has a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor that has metastasized to his liver and spine, received his first three doses in Los Angeles and the fourth in San Diego. According to Apodaca, his lab results and energy levels have improved as a result of taking the drug.
“I was pretty excited to hear that the therapy was available in San Diego in time for my final treatment,” he said.
Lutathera treatment is available to patients at the Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center, with Xavier and Scripps hematologist and medical oncologist Dr. Darren Sigal serving as the therapy’s ordering physicians. The drug is currently administered at Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego.
–City News Service
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