GammaTile Radiation Therapy for Brain Tumors
Advanced treatment delays regrowth of brain tumors and protects healthy brain tissue
If you have a brain tumor, your doctor may suggest a new, highly targeted radiation treatment called GammaTile® Therapy. GammaTile is designed to delay or prevent the growth of brain tumors and to protect healthy tissue in the brain. With GammaTile Therapy, radiation is delivered inside the cavity of the removed operable brain tumor.
Is GammaTile Radiation Therapy right for you?
GammaTile is FDA cleared for patients with newly diagnosed malignant brain tumors and recurrent brain tumors that have reappeared after previous treatment.
These may include:
- Brain metastases
Your medical team at Gibbs Cancer Center will consider whether GammaTile Therapy may be beneficial for you. The brain tumor must be operable, meaning that it can be safely removed before treatment. Be assured we will take excellent care of you and make sure you understand what’s happening every step of the way.
Read on for answers to frequently asked questions about GammaTile.
What is a GammaTile?
A GammaTile is a small square of collagen about the size of a postage stamp. Each tile contains four tiny radioactive seeds called Cesium-131. When the tile is wet, the neurosurgeon can bend it and place it into a precise spot in the brain known as the resection cavity. The tile is absorbed by the body and dissolves into nearby tissue.
How does GammaTile Therapy work?
Before starting GammaTile Therapy, the neurosurgeon must first remove the entire brain tumor or as much as possible. This is called a resection.
Next, the neurosurgeon places the GammaTiles directly inside the resection cavity where the tumor was just removed. Typically, the placement of tiles takes only a few minutes.
After placement, the radioactive seeds inside the GammaTiles immediately begin targeting cancer cells in the area where the tumor is most likely to recur. Over time and after the radiation has been delivered, the body naturally absorbs the collagen tile, and the inactive seeds remain in the body but are nontoxic and do not cause problems in the brain.
How long does it take the GammaTile to deliver radiation?
GammaTile Radiation Therapy immediately begins targeting residual tumor cells before they can significantly replicate or grow back. Studies show that 90% of the radiation dose is delivered in 33 days after placement. After 100 days, the tiny radiation seeds are considered completely free of radiation.
How does GammaTile Therapy differ from other types of radiation treatment?
With traditional radiation treatments, doctors remove the brain tumor, and the patient gets radiation delivered by an external beam from outside the body. The patient undergoes as many as 30 treatments extending over a six-week period, plus chemotherapy.
With GammaTile Therapy, the surgeon places the tiles containing radiation seeds directly into the cavity where the brain tumor grew, which is the area most likely to have a recurrence. The radiation begins targeting the remaining cancer cells as soon as it is in place.
GammaTile is a type of brachytherapy, in which the doctor places small radioactive seeds inside the patient to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. The difference is that the collagen tiles used in GammaTile Therapy provide a buffer between the radiation seeds and surrounding brain tissue. As a result, the radiation seeds are less likely to damage healthy brain tissue.
How effective is GammaTile Therapy?
Our goal at Gibbs Cancer Center is to help you live well for as long as possible without your brain tumor growing back. In a clinical study, GammaTile Therapy extended patient survival rates and delayed the recurrence of their tumors compared to other traditional treatments.
The charts below show clinical outcomes of people who had GammaTile treatment for recurrent brain tumors (recurrent brain metastases, recurrent meningiomas, and recurrent glioblastoma).
Meningioma Patients Recurrence Free at 2 Years
Brain Metastases Patients Recurrence Free at 1 Year
Recurrent GBM Patients Median Overall Survival
Other benefits of GammaTile Therapy
With GammaTile Therapy, your radiation treatment is highly targeted and starts immediately after surgery. Benefits include:
- Reduced risk that aggressive tumors will grow back quickly because there is no need to wait until you recover from surgery to start your first radiation treatment.
- Radiation is delivered only where needed, protecting healthy brain tissue.
- Low chance of hair loss. Since GammaTile radiation does not travel through the scalp to reach tumor cells, as with external beam radiation, most patients do not experience hair loss.
- You receive ongoing radiation therapy as you go about your daily life. There is no need to return to the hospital for multiple radiation treatments over a six-week period, as with other radiation therapy methods. This reduces the burden on you and your caregivers and improves your quality of life.
Easier on you and your caregivers
GammaTile Therapy also offers a huge advantage for those who live in rural areas who may have difficulty traveling to our centers for ongoing radiation treatments. In many cases, patients who receive GammaTile do not need to return to the clinic for additional repeat radiation treatments.
Depending on your type of tumor and individual needs, GammaTile radiation may be done in conjunction with chemotherapy and other treatments.
At Gibbs Cancer Center, we want to make cancer treatment easier and more convenient for everyone.
To find out whether GammaTile Therapy is the right treatment for you or someone you love, contact 855-DNA-GIBBS.