Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232

(615) 936-1000

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131-I MIBG Treatment


for Neuroblastoma, Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioglioma

131-I MIBG therapy is a treatment for neuroblastoma that has either relapsed following standard therapy or has not responded to treatment. It is an IV dose of radiation attached to iodine that targets neuroblastoma cells. 131I-MIBG stands for Iodine 131 MetaIodoBenzylGuanidine.

The 131-I emits radiation. Once the patient receives the infusion of the treatment, they become “radioactive,” which means he or she emits or “gives off” radiation. After receiving the treatment, the 131I-MIBG is eliminated through the urine over several days. The patient must remain in the hospital for three to five days.

The 131-I MIBG moves into other bodily fluids such as saliva and the oils secreted by the skin. There will be trace amounts of radioactive material left wherever the patient’s skin touches. Because of the high level of radiation being given off, the child must stay in the lead-lined room.

Administration of the drug takes about 90 minutes, but the child will remain radioactive for about four days.

First patient in the lead lined room for 131-I MIBG treatment

Parents act as the primary caregivers, outfitted in hospital clothing to help protect against radiation. An anteroom provides further protection. Two-way cameras allow interaction with their child. Nurses enter only briefly to avoid overexposure from caring for multiple patients.

Lead-Lined Walls

Room preparation

Most room surfaces will be covered with plastic to keep the radiation from adhering to permanent fixtures. Large lead shields  surround the bed to help contain the radiation coming from the patient’s body.

Parents and caregivers must wear gowns, gloves, and shoe covers when entering the room. There are many restrictions on hospital staff and visitors. The room is equipped with cameras, microphones, and monitors to allow for audio and visual communication between the patient and the staff, parents, and visitors.

While allowing the radiation to clear, the patient can watching TV and movies, play with the Wii and the iPad, and listen to music. Our dedicated Child Life Specialist meets with every patient to learn what they are interested in so that she can help keep them occupied with toys, crafts, and art supplies.

If you would like more information about this therapy, please call (615) 936-6989.

Last Edited: June 29, 2016
Valued Participant of Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network