• 10/4/2023
    Doha: 4 October 2023 - Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), has introduced nuclear medicine in the treatment of patients with neuroendocrine tumors (177Lu-Dotatate therapy) for the first time in Qatar. The first patient successfully received treatment in the Nuclear Medicine Department at the National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR). This development eliminates the need for many patients to travel abroad for treatment.

    Dr. Maryam Al Kuwari, Chief of Nuclear Medicine Radiology at HMC, emphasized that this treatment option is ideal for patients whose conditions have not responded to other treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. It helps control symptoms, reduce tumor size, and manage its growth for many years, thus improving the quality of life for patients with neuroendocrine tumors. These tumors are often widespread in the body, making surgical removal difficult.

    Dr. Maryam added, "We have been working for several years to achieve this medical milestone through a multidisciplinary team consisting of nuclear medicine physicians, medical physicists, oncology consultants, and nursing teams to provide the best possible medical care for patients. It is expected that approximately 10 patients per year will benefit from this type of treatment, which involves delivering radiation directly to cancer cells by binding the radioactive substance (Lutetium-177) to specific cancer-related proteins. When these proteins enter the body, they bind to cancer cells and deliver the radioactive substance directly to the tumor without causing harm to surrounding healthy tissues."

    Dr. Maryam further stated, "We aim to offer more treatments like Lutetium-177 for other patients with conditions such as prostate cancer and joint diseases characterized by inflammation of the joint membrane due to iron and inflammatory factors after joint bleeding. As we expand the availability of these advanced treatments, the need for patients to travel abroad will significantly decrease."

    Dr. Ghulam Syed, Head of the Nuclear Medicine Department at HMC, explained, "Radioactive nuclide therapy (nuclear medicine) has been available for a long time in the Molecular Imaging and Nuclear Medicine Department at Hamad Medical Corporation. Over the years, we have added more services, including low-dose iodine-131 therapy for patients diagnosed with thyroid gland hyperactivity and thyroid cancer, respectively. We also introduced microsphere therapy (Yttrium-90) for patients with unresectable liver cancers, whether primary or metastatic, and recently, Strontium-89 therapy to alleviate pain associated with cancer spread to the bones."

    Dr. Ghulam mentioned that starting treatment may take nearly a month to complete blood tests, imaging studies, medication adjustments, and preparations for treatment. Typically, treatment consists of four sessions of injections, with one session every eight weeks. In most cases, symptoms improve after the second dose.

    The Nuclear Medicine Department at Hamad Medical Corporation, part of clinical imaging, continues to adhere to international medical practice standards to provide high quality healthcare services to all patients.