Theranostics (Therapy + Diagnostics = Theranostics)

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Imaging Appointments and Questions

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Dana-Farber has been designated by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) as a Comprehensive Radiopharmaceutical Therapy Center of Excellence.

Theranostics is an advanced medical technology that uses radioactive medicine (called radiopharmaceuticals) to combine diagnostic imaging and therapy. This combination of diagnosis and therapy provides our patients with a customized and targeted treatment option.

Radiopharmaceuticals have two parts: a targeting part and a radioactive part. The targeting part binds to a specific target on the tumor cell surface. Then, the radioactive part releases energy that either creates images (diagnostic imaging) or destroys cancer cells (therapy).


Several theranostic radiopharmaceuticals are now approved for different cancer types. Others are currently being tested in clinical trials:


How Theranostics Works

Theranostics is a way to provide personalized medicine through targeted diagnosis and therapy. Theranostics uses pairs of diagnostic and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals (or radioactive medicine) to identify and treat particular tumors.

First, a diagnostic imaging test determines if a specific target is present on a patient’s cancer cells. If the imaging test shows the target on the cancer cells, the patient may then be eligible to receive targeted radiopharmaceutical therapy.

Diagnostic imaging first determines if a specific target is present on a patient's cancer cells. If the imaging shows the target on the cancer cells ("Target: YES"), the patient may then be eligible to receive targeted radiopharmaceutical therapy. If the images do not show the target on the cancer cells ("Target: NO"), targeted radiopharmaceutical therapy may not be a good option, and other treatment approaches may be recommended. Your oncologist and your nuclear medicine doctor will review and recommend what the best approach will be for you.

Dr. Jacene Explains: Targeting Cancer Cells

Heather Jacene, MD, explains what radiopharmaceuticals are and answers some common questions about them.

Meet Our Theranostics Team

At Dana-Farber, we approach theranostics as a multidisciplinary team that includes nuclear medicine doctors, oncologists, theranostic advanced practitioners, and many more experts. Through regular multidisciplinary meetings, each team member shares their expertise in collaboration with the team to provide the best care for our patients. Our theranostics team is dedicated to working with your oncologist to provide the most individualized and personalized care treatment plan for your specific disease – with safe, targeted, and thoughtful treatment plans.

Nuclear Medicine Physicians


Heather Jacene, MD
Clinical Director, Nuclear Medicine

Sudhir Bhimaniya, MD, MBBS
Hyewon Hyun, MD
Matthew Robertson, MD
Christopher Sakellis, MD
Hina Shah, MD
Annick Van den Abbeele, MD, FACR, FICIS

Theranostic Advanced Practitioners

Jolivette Ritzer, DNP, FNP-C
Andrew Wolanski, DNP

Nuclear Medicine Clinical Care Team

Yuji Kuzuhara, MHA, CNMT, RT (N) (MR) (CT), Nuclear Medicine Manager
Daniel Tempesta, MHA, CNMT, RT (N) (CT), Nuclear Medicine Supervisor, Chestnut Hill
Elizabeth Clymer, Nuclear Medicine Program Coordinator
Lauren Gilbert, CNMT, RT(N)(CT), PET, Lead Nuclear Medicine Research Technologist, Chestnut Hill
Jared LeBlanc, CNMT, NMTCB(CT), RT(N), Lead Nuclear Medicine Research Technologist, Longwood
Kelly Symon, Nuclear Medicine Program Coordinator
Arda Konik, PhD, Nuclear Medicine Physicist

Clinical Research Team

Adam Tanzer, Imaging Research Manager
Kristen Harrington, Clinical Research Coordinator
Nicole LaBrecque, MS, CNMT, NMTCB(CT), RT(N), Lead Imaging Research Technologist

Multi-Disciplinary Collaborations

Neuroendocrine and Carcinoid Tumors Program

Jennifer Chan, MD, MPH, Medical Oncology
Kimberly Perez, MD, Medical Oncology
Thomas Clancy, MD, FACS, Surgical Oncology

The Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology

Praful Ravi, MB, BChir, MRCP, Medical Oncology
Mark Preston, MD, MPH, Urological Surgery
Adam Kibel, MD, Urological Surgery


Ellen Marqusee, MD, Endocrinology
Erik Alexander, MD, Endocrinology
Theodora Pappa, MD, PhD, Endocrinology
Sara Ahmadi, MD, Endocrinology
Melissa Magnuson, Sr. Research Technician, Endocrinology

Interventional Radiology

Matthew Schenker, MD, Interventional Radiology
Timothy Killoran, MD, Interventional Radiology
Dmitry Rabkin, MD, PhD, Interventional Radiology

Currently Available Theranostics Clinical Trials

A Phase 1/2 Study of [225Ac]-FPI-1434 Injection in Patients with Locally Advanced or Metastatic Solid Tumors
The purpose of this research study is to see if [111In]-FPI-1547 (the imaging study drug) and [225Ac]-FPI-1434 (the treatment study drug) may be used to image and treat patients with advanced or metastatic solid tumors.

A Phase II Randomized Trial of Radium-223 Dichloride and Cabozantinib in Patients with Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma with Bone Metastasis (RadiCal)
The purpose of this research study is to see if adding radium-223 dichloride to cabozantinib improves outcomes for patients with kidney cancer that has spread to the bone.

Phase 3: Lutetium (177Lu) Edotreotide Versus Best Standard of Care in Well-Differentiated Aggressive Grade 2 and Grade 3 GEP-NETs (COMPOSE)
The purpose of this research study is to evaluate 177Lu-edotreotide as a first- or second-line treatment for well-differentiated, grade 2 and grade 3 gastroenteric or pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.

An Open-Label, Multicenter, Phase 2 Study of CLR 131 in Patients with Relapsed or Refractory (R/R) Select B-Cell Malignancies (CLOVER-1) and Expansion Cohort in Patients with Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia (CLOVER-WaM)
This research study is designed to determine the efficacy of iopofosine I 131 (CLR 131) in selected B-cell malignancies, including Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia/lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma after 2 prior treatments.

PSMAddition: An International Prospective Open-Label, Randomized, Phase III Study Comparing 177Lu-PSMA-617 in Combination with Standard of Care, Versus Standard of Care Alone, in Adult Male Patients with Metastatic Hormone Sensitive Prostate Cancer (mHSPC)
This research study evaluates the use of 177Lu-PSMA-617 in combination with standard of care compared to standard of care alone in men with metastatic hormone sensitive prostate cancer.

Randomized Phase II Trial of Lutetium Lu 177 Dotatate Versus Everolimus in Somatostatin Receptor Positive Bronchial Neuroendocrine Tumors (A021901)
This research study evaluates the use of 177Lu-dotatate compared to the usual treatment (everolimus) for lung neuroendocrine tumors that has spread to other places in the body.


Theranostics: Another Way to "Defy Cancer"

Imagine if a single PET scan could detect cancer in a patient’s body—either primary tumors or those that have spread—and target it with drugs that simultaneously diagnose and eradicate the tumors. That is the promise of theranostics, an exciting new medical specialty being pioneered at Dana-Farber for diagnosing and treating cancer.

Help Defy Cancer