Surgically Targeted Radiation Therapy

A new type of radiation therapy designed to treat recurrent brain tumors.

Approximately half of patients treated for brain tumors experience tumor recurrence within a year. That is a scary statistic. But we’re hopeful that a new technology called surgically targeted radiation therapy will change that. The FDA-cleared treatment (known as GammaTile) has been shown to delay—or prevent—tumor cells from replicating and forming a recurrent tumor, as it targets residual tumor cells with radiation before they can significantly replicate.

How does it work?

Historically, standard-of-care treatment for metastatic brain tumors (or brain tumors that travel to the brain from other parts of the body) has involved surgery, and then within several weeks, as many as 10 visits for conventional radiation. With surgically targeted radiation, treatment occurs directly after tumor removal.

Radiation is embedded into a collagen sponge, encapsulated in titanium and placed into the brain right after you’ve had surgery to remove a brain tumor. The radiation immediately starts treating the area next to where the tumor was removed, which is where most recurrences happen. On average, placement of the radiation capsule takes approximately five minutes.

You’ll receive 90% of the radiation within 33 days. After 100 days, you’ll have received all of the radiation. For the first few weeks, it’s recommended not to ride on public transportation, sleep in the same bed as anyone else or get close to pregnant women. There are very few other limitations.

What are the benefits of surgically targeted radiation therapy?

Surgically targeted radiation therapy has several benefits, such as:

  • It allows you to go about your daily life while undergoing treatment. (And you don’t have to keep coming back to the doctor for each dose, which also makes it a great option for people who may not be able to come back for radiation because of access-to-care barriers.)
  • You don’t have to wait to start radiation treatment a few weeks after surgery—it begins immediately.
  • It protects healthy brain tissue while eradicating tumor cells.
  • Early data suggests it reduces the likelihood of an immediate cancer recurrence.
 
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