From OHC, Specialists in the Treatment of Adult Cancers and Blood Disorders

February 26, 2020

OHC, Mayfield Brain & Spine and The Jewish Hospital – Mercy Health continued to evolve the standard of care for brain tumors last month when they became the first team in the United States to utilize GammaTile Therapy for the treatment of newly diagnosed malignant brain tumors.

GammaTile Therapy was initially approved for the treatment of recurrent brain tumors, including glioblastomas, gliomas, meningiomas, and brain metastases. The FDA has expanded clearance of the technology to include treatment of newly diagnosed malignant brain tumors.

Vincent DiNapoli, MD, PhD, a neurosurgeon with Mayfield Brain & Spine and Director of the Brain Tumor Center, became the first surgeon in the United States to utilize GammaTile Therapy for the treatment of newly diagnosed malignant brain tumors. Dr. DiNapoli was also the first in the eastern U.S. to offer GammaTile Therapy for the treatment of recurrent brain tumors.

GammaTile Therapy, also known as surgically targeted radiation therapy (STaRT), is designed to delay brain tumor recurrence. It consists of a 3D-collagen tile embedded with a cesium radiation source. GammaTile is placed in the tumor cavity at the time of surgery so that it immediately begins to target residual tumor cells with radiation while limiting the impact on healthy brain tissue.

“Our ability to utilize GammaTile Therapy for patients who have been newly diagnosed with malignant brain tumors provides a welcome addition to our options for treatment,” Dr. DiNapoli said. “I began using the therapy for my patients with recurrent malignancies in August 2019, and I’m encouraged by initial results. I am excited by the FDA’s decision to expand the technology to the many patients who can benefit from the treatment during their initial diagnosis.”

OHC’s Elizabeth H. Levick, MD, radiation oncologist said, “Our Brain Tumor Center team is grateful that more of our patients will benefit from this technology. The therapy has the potential to positively impact patient outcomes, treatment compliance, and quality of life.”

The team is using the therapy in place of implantable radioactive seeds the size of grains of rice.

“Previously, we embedded individual seeds into the brain and glued them in place,” Dr. DiNapoli said. “Despite our best efforts, they had the potential to migrate to another part of the brain. With GammaTile, the radiation is embedded into a wafer that is similar to a surgical sponge. This minimizes the worry that individual seeds will migrate from their original placement and helps protect healthy brain tissue from radiation.”

Implanting tiles that contain four seeds rather than placing seeds one by one also cuts down on the length of the surgery and, consequently, the length of time the patient is under anesthesia. The process is very quick and can be done in less than 5 minutes.

Approximately 700,000 Americans are living with some type of brain tumor during a given year. Despite the efforts of the most skilled brain tumor specialists throughout the world, outcomes for patients with malignant brain tumors have improved very little over the past 30 years. During this time, there have been only four FDA-approved drugs and two FDA-cleared devices available to patients and physicians for the treatment of brain tumors. One of the devices is Gamma Knife, available only through the Brain Tumor Center. A team of highly-trained specialists with OHC and Mayfield Brain & Spine use Gamma Knife technology to deliver intense radiation doses to the targeted area while sparing surrounding tissue. The radiation is delivered with pinpoint precision from multiple sides of the head onto the tumor. When these multiple beams meet, the result is a highly targeted high dose of radiation right at the center of the tumor.

GammaTile, which became available to patients with recurrent brain tumors in January 2019, is the most recent treatment cleared or approved by the FDA for the treatment of brain tumors.

GammaTile is the only radiation therapy specifically designed for use in the brain and offers advantages for patients undergoing surgery for brain tumors. GammaTile begins targeting residual tumor cells immediately at the time of tumor removal surgery while avoiding damage to healthy brain tissue. In addition, the burden of radiation treatment is reduced. Patients receive treatment while going about their daily lives and require no additional trips to the hospital or clinic for radiation therapy.

For more information about the treatment of cancerous brain tumors, contact OHC at 1-800-710-4674 or click here.

Pictured, left to right: Jake Andreadis of SurgicalOne, Vince DiNapoli, MD, PhD, of Mayfield Brain & Spine, Elizabeth H. Levick, MD, of OHC, and Larry Langlois of GT Medical Technologies.

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