NET Awareness Day Q&A with Dr Pamela Kunz

As we celebrate NET Cancer Awareness Day, what do you want patients and families to pause and remember?

We have had more progress over the past decade than ever before in treatments and imaging, and we hope that will continue into the next decade as well. There is hope for more treatments, more imaging and more research for this rare disease. There has recently been an explosion of research into neuroendocrine tumors.

How do you work with the Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers at Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center to care for your patients?

Neuroendocrine tumors are a top priority and have been selected as one of the diseases to focus on and train a program of providers, doctors and researchers. We are focused on educating patients and stimulating research in the field.

What advances have had the greatest impact in the treatment of patients with NETs over the past 5 years?

The main advances are related to new imaging modalities and new treatment options. Gallium Ga 68 dotatate injection is used with PET to locate Somatostatin receptor positive NETs. Combined with the therapeutic treatment Lutathera (lutetium Lu 177 dotatate), it has changed the landscape of this field since it was approved by the FDA in 2018. We are now looking at new ways to deliver it safer and more effectively. .

Clinical trials can often be the best treatment option, how do you explain this to patients who may be hesitant?

I’m vice-chair of the National Cancer Institute’s Neuroendocrine Tumor Working Group. This working group sets the plan for the next decade of clinical trials and focuses on peptide receptor radionuclide therapy and Lu 177 dotatate. Clinical trials are our way forward and are certainly a reason for hope in this. rare sickness.

Is there any advice or support that you are trying to offer to your patients and their families? Words of hope?

My advice is to find an expert in the field and integrate him into your care team. We frequently partner with community oncologists to care for patients. With rare tumors like these, you need an expert on your side. There has been an incredible trajectory of discovery and new treatments for this disease and I have high hopes for the future as more research and funding is provided.

Submitted by Emily Montemerlo on November 10, 2021

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