According to a story from pm360online.com, the Novartis company Advanced Accelerator Applications S.A. recently announced that Health Canada has issued approval for Lutathera™ as a treatment for gasteroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs). This drug is specifically approved for tumors that are metastatic, cannot be removed by surgery, are classified as well-differentiated, and express the somatostatin receptor. Advanced Accelerator Applications is a committed innovator in nuclear medicine theragnostics.
About Gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (GEP-NETs)
GEP-NETs are a type of tumor that arise from cells belonging to the nervous and endocrine systems. They may be benign or cancerous. They can appear in many areas along the digestive tract but common affect the ileum. More rarely, they can appear in the pancreas. The cause of GEP-NETs is not well understood. At times, these tumors do not cause symptoms and are often discovered incidental to unrelated surgical operations. When symptoms do appear, they may include heart palpitations, flushing, swelling of the limbs, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, wheezing, and congestive heart failure. They can trigger an excess release of hormones that can lead to a range of complications. Treatment for GEP-NETs may include surgery, somatostatin analogs, radionuclide therapy, targeted therapies, and chemotherapy. Median survival time is currently around eight years. To learn more about GEP-NETs, click here.
Expanding Treatment Options
Lutathera is classified as a peptide receptor radionuclide therapy. As the first drug of this class approved for use in Canada, it offers a unique new treatment option for GEP-NET patients in the country. There are limited options for patients whose disease cannot be treated or cured with surgery, so it is critical that patients with advanced disease have different approaches to fall back on.
Like many rare cancers, diagnosing GEP-NETs can be a lengthy and difficult process which means that a significant portion of patients present with disease that has progressed substantially. This makes the availability of new treatments all the more essential.
Advanced Accelerator Applications is still working on a timeline for when Lutathera will officially become available for public use in Canada.