PRRT: "She probably wouldn't be alive" - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

PRRT: "She probably wouldn't be alive"

Posted: Updated:

Sunday evening as part of our special series The New Frontier, we introduced you to Eileen Torgerson, a woman living in Great Falls, whose body is literally full of cancerous tumors.

But she's beat the odds, and is now the poster child for a new treatment that seems to be working. The only catch? It's not FDA approved, and she has to travel to Texas to receive it.

Backing up for a moment: in the summer of 2017, reporter Taylor Chase sat down with Eileen, who described her new treatment.

"You have to stay away from people you're radioactive for a while.” “Really? That's like something out of science fiction.” “It is! It's new, it's definitely new."

“Science fiction” is just one way to describe Eileen's treatment, or Peptide Receptor Radiotherapy, also known as PRRT.

One of Eileen's doctors, nuclear physician Luke Bolek, tried to break it down, and in very, very simplified terms, here’s how it works:

Eileen's body is injected with radioactive isotopes, which then target her cancer, hone in on the cancerous cells, and break apart the DNA.

What makes this treatment so appealing is that it specifically targets the cancerous cells, not healthy tissue. So patients experience very few side effects.

PRRT is not FDA approved, which may seem questionable to some. But Dr. Bolek says people shouldn't pass up treatment just based on the status.

"And to be honest with you, all things that are FDA approved at one point were not FDA approved… It took time to get the most conventional medicines approved also," says Bolek.

But how is it that patients can even use a non-FDA approved treatment? That's thanks to a law called “Right to Try.” Montana has a similar law in place, passed in 2015, but Eileen travels to another Right to Try State—Texas-- which has more resources.

"We're fairly confident that this will be FDA approved by January or early 2018," says Bolek.

And in the case of Eileen, FDA approved or not, it was worth the risk.

"To put it bluntly, without it she probably wouldn't be alive,” Bolek told us.

And with every rare patient like Eileen, Dr. Bolek says they are getting closer and closer to changing how we treat cancers across the board.

"It can only get better… It can only get better."?

And better it will be... Dr. Bolek says Eileen is responding very well to the treatments, and her tumors are now considered to be in “stable” condition. On average, folks listed as stable will live an additional three and a half years without their tumors spreading.

For more information about PRRT, visit the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging website. For more information about Right to Try Laws in Montana, read the full legislation here

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Yellowstone visitor warned for standing too close to bison

    Yellowstone visitor warned for standing too close to bison

    Wednesday, August 15 2018 2:25 PM EDT2018-08-15 18:25:23 GMT
    photo: Douglas Scott on Twitterphoto: Douglas Scott on Twitter

    A Yellowstone National Park visitor standing too close to a bison said the potential danger is "fake news," according to a social media post that's going viral.

    A Yellowstone National Park visitor standing too close to a bison said the potential danger is "fake news," according to a social media post that's going viral.

  • Henchmen MC hosts 5th annual Children's Receiving Home Poker Run

    Henchmen MC hosts 5th annual Children's Receiving Home Poker Run

    Wednesday, August 15 2018 8:38 PM EDT2018-08-16 00:38:25 GMT
    Wednesday, August 15 2018 8:43 PM EDT2018-08-16 00:43:53 GMT

    In tonight's Community Spotlight, Rowdy Gillen and Rob Ibarra stopped by the KFBB studios to talk about the 5th annual Children's Receiving Home Poker Run.  The event will take place on Saturday, August 25th. Folks are asked to arrived at Big Sky Harley at 10:00am. After stopped at a variety of locations throughout the Little Belts, the group will wrap up at the Henchmen's Clubhouse located at 5821 2nd Avenue North.  The night will feature food, silent auctions, a 50/50, a...

    In tonight's Community Spotlight, Rowdy Gillen and Rob Ibarra stopped by the KFBB studios to talk about the 5th annual Children's Receiving Home Poker Run.  The event will take place on Saturday, August 25th. Folks are asked to arrived at Big Sky Harley at 10:00am. After stopped at a variety of locations throughout the Little Belts, the group will wrap up at the Henchmen's Clubhouse located at 5821 2nd Avenue North.  The night will feature food, silent auctions, a 50/50, a...

  • Missoula Pearl Jam poster criticized for appearing to portray Trump's corpse

    Missoula Pearl Jam poster criticized for appearing to portray Trump's corpse

    Wednesday, August 15 2018 12:22 PM EDT2018-08-15 16:22:53 GMT

    Thousands of people packed Washington-Grizzly Stadium on Monday for the sold-out Pearl Jam concert. But it's a commemorative poster that's still making noise after the show is over. 

    Thousands of people packed Washington-Grizzly Stadium on Monday for the sold-out Pearl Jam concert. But it's a commemorative poster that's still making noise after the show is over. 

  • WANTED: Man with information about possible child sexual assault victim

    WANTED: Man with information about possible child sexual assault victim

    Wednesday, August 15 2018 12:40 PM EDT2018-08-15 16:40:33 GMT

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is seeking the public’s assistance with obtaining identifying information regarding an unknown male who may have critical information pertaining to the identity of a child victim in an ongoing sexual exploitation investigation.

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is seeking the public’s assistance with obtaining identifying information regarding an unknown male who may have critical information pertaining to the identity of a child victim in an ongoing sexual exploitation investigation.

  • At least one person injured in reported crash on Giant Springs Road

    At least one person injured in reported crash on Giant Springs Road

    Wednesday, August 15 2018 10:45 PM EDT2018-08-16 02:45:54 GMT
    Wednesday, August 15 2018 10:49 PM EDT2018-08-16 02:49:47 GMT

    Scanner traffic indicates around 8:30 pm on August 15th, a crash occurred on Giant Springs Road and River Drive N, resulting in the injury of at least one person. 

    Scanner traffic indicates around 8:30 pm on August 15th, a crash occurred on Giant Springs Road and River Drive N, resulting in the injury of at least one person. 

  • NewsMore>>

  • Daines hopes to secure more funding to honor Vietnam veterans with new visitor center

    Daines hopes to secure more funding to honor Vietnam veterans with new visitor center

    Wednesday, August 15 2018 10:08 PM EDT2018-08-16 02:08:22 GMT
    Wednesday, August 15 2018 10:22 PM EDT2018-08-16 02:22:20 GMT

    Senator Steve Daines spent his afternoon back on Capitol Hill fighting to build an education center at the heart of one of the nation's most recognizable memorials.  Nearly 58,000 names don the wall that was built nearly two decades after one of the most divisive times in America's history with thousands coming home from Vietnam only to be spit upon, shamed and even attacked for fighting for our country.  President and CEO of Vietnam Veteran's Memorial ...

    Senator Steve Daines spent his afternoon back on Capitol Hill fighting to build an education center at the heart of one of the nation's most recognizable memorials.  Nearly 58,000 names don the wall that was built nearly two decades after one of the most divisive times in America's history with thousands coming home from Vietnam only to be spit upon, shamed and even attacked for fighting for our country.  President and CEO of Vietnam Veteran's Memorial ...

  • $20 million settlement between Montana Diocese and victims of sexual abuse by clergy approved

    $20 million settlement between Montana Diocese and victims of sexual abuse by clergy approved

    Wednesday, August 1 2018 7:02 PM EDT2018-08-01 23:02:39 GMT
    Tuesday, August 14 2018 7:10 PM EDT2018-08-14 23:10:08 GMT

    After more than 80 claims of sex abuse have been settled with the Catholic Diocese of Great Falls Billings, the names of all the child sexual abusers have been released. 

    After more than 80 claims of sex abuse have been settled with the Catholic Diocese of Great Falls Billings, the names of all the child sexual abusers have been released. 

  • Residents southeast of Lincoln receive pre-evacuation notice

    Residents southeast of Lincoln receive pre-evacuation notice

    Sunday, August 12 2018 10:30 PM EDT2018-08-13 02:30:07 GMT
    Sunday, August 12 2018 10:37 PM EDT2018-08-13 02:37:32 GMT

    According to a press release from the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, the 467 Trail Fire burning southeast of Lincoln has prompted a pre-evacuation notice from the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office. The notice is for residents in the McQuithy Gulch and Marsh Creek areas.  The fire, which is lightening-caused, is only about 20 acres in size, but firefighters are working hard to suppress the blaze due to dense timber and thick brush.  A red flag warning will re...

    According to a press release from the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, the 467 Trail Fire burning southeast of Lincoln has prompted a pre-evacuation notice from the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office. The notice is for residents in the McQuithy Gulch and Marsh Creek areas.  The fire, which is lightening-caused, is only about 20 acres in size, but firefighters are working hard to suppress the blaze due to dense timber and thick brush.  A red flag warning will re...

  • Heat Wave Across the Treasure State

    Heat Wave Across the Treasure State

    Wednesday, August 8 2018 1:20 PM EDT2018-08-08 17:20:14 GMT
    Wednesday, August 8 2018 1:20 PM EDT2018-08-08 17:20:14 GMT
    With Montana reaching into the triple digits this week, heat-related illnesses are a potential risk.  Heat-related illnesses include:  •Heat Stroke •Heat Exhaustion  •Heat Cramps  •Heat Rash It's extremely important to stay hydrated, drinking a minimum of 8 cups a day.  The best way to gauge this is by simply listening to your body.  If your urine is a light yellow, you're hydrated.  However, if your urine is a ...
    With Montana reaching into the triple digits this week, heat-related illnesses are a potential risk.  Heat-related illnesses include:  •Heat Stroke •Heat Exhaustion  •Heat Cramps  •Heat Rash It's extremely important to stay hydrated, drinking a minimum of 8 cups a day.  The best way to gauge this is by simply listening to your body.  If your urine is a light yellow, you're hydrated.  However, if your urine is a ...
Powered by Frankly
Copyright - All content © 2001 - 2018. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.