New Radioactive Cancer Drug Available at Nebraska Medicine

Marilyn Cody became the first Nebraska Medicine patient to receive Lutathera, a newly approved radioactive cancer drug, which is flown in from Italy.

Marilyn Cody loves being outside on her 400-acre farm and hopes her new cancer drug treatment will allow her to continue to mow and garden.

Marilyn Cody may be one of the most optimistic people you’ll ever meet.

“I rely on God, my church and my family – you just have to have faith!”

After losing her husband, sister, son and son-in-law, to different forms of cancer, the 74 year old was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer. Cody underwent surgery and chemotherapy, which prolonged her life for four years. Until recently, the Griswold, Iowa, woman thought she was out of options – until her team at Nebraska Medicine suggested a new therapy.

“I like being the guinea pig,” smiles Cody.

On June 14, Cody became the first Nebraska Medicine patient to receive Lutathera, a newly approved radioactive cancer drug, which is flown in from Italy. It’s used to treat a type of cancer that affects the pancreas or gastrointestinal tract, called gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs).

“This is one of the newest types of drugs, which are directed at specific molecules on the cancer cells,” explains radiologist Neil Hansen, MD. “It’s radiation, but it goes inside the patient, gets targeted directly to the cancer, and hones in on that cancer to deliver it without the side effects of radiation to other parts of the body.”

“I feel so much better with this therapy,” adds Cody. “Chemotherapy was hard, but this is better.”

Because the drug is radioactive, radiation safety officers are there to monitor the risk of radiation exposure. The nurses also have a device that measures the amount of radioactivity in the room, emitting from the patient.

“We have a great team here – our infusion nurses, radiation safety officers and nuclear medicine technologists; everyone is on board and we’ve kept the dose very safe,” says Dr. Hansen.

Cody will receive the treatment three more times – in August, October and November. She’s hopeful it will give her extra years with her family, and the ability to do the things she loves the most such as gardening and mowing the lawn.

“I live on a farm with 400 acres, so I love being outside,” says Cody. “With this treatment, I really do think it will prolong my life. I just have to go for it.”

“This is the future of medicine,” adds Dr. Hansen. “We have a big neuroendocrine tumor clinic here at Nebraska Medicine and this is going to be a great therapy for those who don’t have a lot of options. It’s an exciting time.”

To learn more, watch this story from KMTV.

 

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