GammaTiles as a treatment for brain tumors
Adenocarcinoma in the brain is most often a cancer that has started in the lungs or the colon and spread. It is an aggressive, relentless disease. Now, a new form of treatment is providing increased quality of life for brain tumor patients.
Fifty-six- year-old Zola Lamp soaks it all in. She’s still recovering from brain surgery to remove a cancerous tumor.
“Smaller than a golf ball, larger than a nickel. That was probably about that big,” Zola recalled.
This was Zola’s third cancer diagnosis since 2018. In just those two years, she’s been treated for colon cancer and rectal cancer. Then just a few months ago the tumor in her brain. After surgery, it came back again.
Zola expressed, “It was heart wrenching because it kind of felt like, where’s my Hail Mary, you know, where is my Hail Mary?”
For Zola, a “Hail Mary” would be just a few more years to watch her eight-year-old grandson, Drake, grow up. Now, a cutting-edge treatment is delaying progression of the disease for some. After surgeons remove the tumor, they implant tiny squares or radioactive tiles called GammaTiles at the site.
“These wafers have the radiation seeds embedded in them, so those radiation seeds then emit radiation into that cavity, you know, starting immediately after surgery,” explained Vincent DiNapoli, MD a neurosurgeon at Mayfield Brain and Spine.
The seeds can be seen here. Tiny, bright, lights on this brain scan. Ninety percent of the radiation is delivered within a month, then the tile dissolves and is absorbed by the body. The GammaTile therapy isn’t a cure but it does give patients quality of life ... And the gift of precious time.
“They generally say that when you get cancer, you got this one to five years. Right? Well, it’s been two years for me, and I want my five years,” Zola shared.
And so does her family.
The FDA granted GammaTile therapy regulatory clearance for the treatment of recurrent brain tumors in 2018, but in January of 2020, the FDA expanded the indications to allow patients with newly diagnosed cancerous tumors to receive GammaTile therapy.
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