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Personalized Cancer Diagnostics and Therapies man speaking with doctor

Johns Hopkins is a leader in the development and use of theranostics.  The Division of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging has pioneered the development of imaging and theranostic agents for prostate cancer. 

Our Center was the first in the State of Maryland to offer 117Lu-DOTATATE, with several hundred infusions performed to date.  As this field is rapidly evolving, new agents will become available.  The Center will adopt them on an ongoing basis for safe, effective management of a variety of cancers. 


What is Theranostics?

Theranostics, a burgeoning new field arising from nuclear medicine, is the combination of imaging and molecular radiotherapy. Imaging, generally positron emission tomography (PET), is used to identify the tumor. The therapy in this case is a radiopharmaceutical – a radioactive drug that, like the PET agent that identified it, specifically targets cancer while leaving most normal, non-target tissues alone. Unlike external beam radiotherapy, molecular radiotherapy carries the radioactivity, in the form of particles that are emitted from the radiopharmaceutical, directly to the tumor.

The Center operates in close coordination with our partners in the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Our most active service at present implements 177Lu-DOTATATE, for patients with neuroendocrine tumors. A 68Ga-DOTATATE PET scan is used to identify tumors that will concentrate the corresponding therapeutic (177Lu-DOTATATE). Having such tumors is one of the criteria to be a candidate for this therapy. We have found this therapy to be safe and well tolerated, with patients frequently relating an improved quality of life.

Lutetium Lu 177 vipivotide tetraxetan

Like Lutetium Lu 177 dotatate, Lutetium Lu 177 vipivotide tetraxetan is administered by brief intravenous infusion on an outpatient basis. It is provided in up to six cycles of therapy, which are eight weeks apart. Pluvicto concentrates within prostate tumors that express the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA). Accordingly, candidates for this therapy must undergo a PSMA PET scan that shows that their tumor(s) concentrate the PET agent, which would be indication that they would also concentrate the corresponding radiotherapeutic. Pluvicto is well-tolerated, with few side effects, can provide relief from pain and may prolong life.

Clinical Trials


Patient Information

  • Radioligand is a nuclear medicine treatment that uses targeted radiation to kill cancer cells from within.

    Radioligand targets molecule that binds to specific receptors (somatostatin) on the tumor cell surface and a radioactive particle that can kill the tumor cell.

    Radioligand is a treatment for adults with gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs) that test positive for somatostatin receptors.

  • Patients with gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs) receiving Lutathera® ([177Lu]DOTATATE) at Johns Hopkins Hospital must first be evaluated by a medical oncologist at Johns Hopkins for consultation. The medical oncologist will review the case with the Johns Hopkins nuclear medicine team. If all are in agreement that Radioligand therapy with Lutathera® is appropriate, the nuclear medicine team will pursue the additional required assessments. Patients must have somatostatin receptor-positive GEP-NETs, with a positive result on a somatostatin receptor-specific imaging study, e.g., NETSPOT™ ([68Ga]DOTATATE PET/CT, documented prior to therapy.

  • The Johns Hopkins Hospital nuclear medicine team will obtain insurance preauthorization prior to scheduling the first Radioligand treatment. Patients, or their referring physician, may schedule the initial consultation. A copy of the patient’s medical records will be requested by the nuclear medicine team, including clinic notes, the pathology report confirming diagnosis, imaging, and laboratory tests.

  • To schedule the initial consultation, please contact:
    Avery Spitz RN, MSN
    Phone: 443-253-3894 | Fax: 410-614-9469

    Insurance questions will be addressed at the time of scheduling the first Radioligand treatment.

  • Please inquire about ongoing clinical research in theranostics 443-253-3894

Meet Your Treatment Team

“Perhaps most gratifying about the radiotheranostics service is how over the course of therapy we often see a vast improvement in the quality of life of our patients.”

- Martin Pomper, M.D., Ph.D.

Nuclear Medicine Radiotheranostic Center Director


 Your Treatment Team

  • Danielle Rill, B.S.,CNMT,R.T.(N)(CT)(ARRT)

    Senior Radiotheranostics Technologist

    danielle rill
  • Avery Spitz, RN,MSN

    Radiotheranostics Nurse Navigator

    avrey spitz
  • Jeffrey Young, B.S.,CNMT,R.T.(CT)(ARRT)

    Radiotheranostics Manager

    jeffery young
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