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Ibritumomab Tiutexan

A healthcare provider may prescribe ibritumomab (Zevalin®) to treat certain types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer that begins in the lymphatic system. This drug contains ibritumomab tiutexan. Ibritumomab is a synthetic (manufactured) antibody. It is linked to tiutexan, a molecule that helps the antibody attach to a radioactive isotope known as Yttrium-90 (or simply Y-90). Because it attaches to this isotope, ibritumomab is considered a radioactive medication.
Ibritumomab binds to the surface of healthy and certain cancerous cells, signaling the immune system to destroy the cancer cells. In addition, because ibritumomab is linked to a radioactive element, it emits radiation that helps destroy both the cancer cell the medicine is attached to and surrounding cancer cells.
(Click What Is Ibritumomab Used For? for more details on how ibritumomab tiutexan works to destroy cancer cells and slow down the progression of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. This article also discusses who this drug is approved for and whether there are unapproved reasons to use it.)
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