Photo: Flip Franssen
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Reconstruction lutetium octreotate

By Lucien Hordijk

Steve Jobs’ private plane, parked at Rotterdam Airport. It is September 2008 when local reporters receive tips about the arrival of Apple’s CEO in the Netherlands. What is the billionaire doing here? It took until 2015 before Ahmed Aboutaleb, the mayor of Rotterdam, revealed the secret: Jobs was treated in the Erasmus University Medical Center for a rare neuroendocrine tumor. As it turns out, Jobs wasn’t the only one. 

Since 2000, the hospital has treated more than 1,500 patients from the Netherlands and abroad with neuroendocrine tumors using lutetium octreotate therapy. This unique drug turned out to be so successful that the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital in Amsterdam and the University Medical Centre Utrecht now also offer the treatment. 

However, the three hospitals may soon have to refer their patients abroad for this treatment. The pharmaceutical company Novartis bought the drug, registered it with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) as a treatment for a rare disease and increased the price five-fold. 

This reconstruction was originally published in the Dutch Journal of Medicine. Read the full article (Dutch) here.

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