Some cancers are difficult to diagnose because the tumors are hard to find. Other cancers are difficult to treat because they cannot be removed by a surgeon and traditional chemotherapy may not be effective. Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PRRT) is a new tool in our cancer-fighting arsenal that can quickly deliver effective treatment for cancers that can be difficult to diagnose or treat.

Peptide Receptor Radiotherapy (PRRT) program

PRRT uses a two-part molecule. One part, called dotatate, binds to a site on a cancer cell’s membrane. The other part is a radioactive atom lutetium-177.

PRRT is used with a special dotatate PET scan.  During this special dotatate PET scan, the dotatate is linked to gallium-68 which emits faint radiation. So when the molecule binds to cancer cells, the cancer cells light up on the positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) scan. The radioactive gallium atoms deliver sharper tumor images, reducing the number of imaging visits needed (other imaging tools can take several visits over a few days).

Lutetium-177 emits radioactive beta particles. The drug Lutathera® combines dotatate with lutetium-177. When given, Lutathera delivers enough radiation to kill cancer cells. The beta particles don’t travel far inside the body, so only the cells closest to the tumor receive radiation, too.