For 41-year-old Nicole Storey, the investigational drug she’s receiving in an Expanded Access Protocol at Research Medical Center was an early Christmas gift. The Olathe resident, diagnosed with Stage IV neuroendocrine cancer in 2015, is the first patient in the Kansas City region to receive Lutathera, a drug that wraps Storey’s tumors with a low dose of radiation.
Not a candidate for surgery, Storey instead underwent radiation for five weeks on the primary tumor for nearly a year following her diagnosis until she started experiencing digestive issues and pain from liver growth. She was also given a monthly injection.
“The doctors determined the drug wasn’t preventing the tumors from growing,” Storey says. “We researched other non-trial treatment options at the time and there weren’t many.”
In April 2017 Storey sought out the expertise of Jaswinder Singh, M.D., board certified in internal medicine and a specialist in hematology-oncology at Research Medical Center. After receiving three rounds of a drug that still wasn’t holding back the neuroendocrine tumors’ growth, Dr. Singh shared some good news: Storey was first on the list to receive Lutathera.
“When Dr. Singh told me that I was approved for an Expanded Access Protocol with Lutathera and explained the drug’s potential benefits, I felt enormous relief,” Storey says. “I never doubt that he’s fighting for my absolute best care. Although there’s not a cure for the type of cancer I have, with new drugs like Lutathera that show promise, I’m buying time.”
Storey’s first Lutathera treatment was on December 8; she experienced minimal side effects. The mother of three children ranging in age from 5 to 21, feels blessed that a drug she’s convinced will be effective in deterring tumor growth is available in her own backyard.
“I’m grateful I can remain in Kansas City and be surrounded by my family and friends while undergoing this treatment,” she says. “And that I have a passionate advocate like Dr. Singh is priceless.”
“Being the first hospital in the region to receive Lutathera in an Expanded Access Protocol provides hope to someone like Nicole,” says Dr. Singh. “To be able to offer cancer patients access to innovative treatments in their community hospital, where they can have their support system readily available, is invaluable.”
Lutathera is currently undergoing FDA approval; Dr. Singh anticipates it will have final approval in early 2018.
For more information on Research Medical Center—part of HCA Midwest, Kansas City’s leading healthcare provider—and its acclaimed cancer care program and services, visit https://researchmedicalcenter.com.