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GammaTile: Surgery and Radiation at the Same Time

CLEVELAND, Ohio. (WGEM)— Over 400,000 Americans are living with a brain tumor.

Traditional treatment includes surgery to remove the tumor, followed by radiation and in some cases, chemotherapy.

The FDA has now approved the expanded use of a small square of biomaterial called GammaTile that provides the benefits of radiation without additional procedures.

After brain surgery to remove a tumor, patients often need to return to the hospital up to thirty times for radiation.

Now, in some patients, surgeons are able to implant this postage-sized square called GammaTile.

“The benefit of GammaTile is that it's basically surgery and radiation at the same time. So instead of doing surgery and then coming back and getting radiation, you get the surgery, and we implant these radioactive seeds, and then you're done,” explained Andrew E. Sloan, MD, MBA, FACS, professor & vice chairman of the department of neurosurgery, Peter D. Cristal chair of neurosurgical oncology, and director of Brain Tumor & Neuro-Oncology Center and Center of Excellence for Translational Neuro-Oncology at University Hospitals-Cleveland Medical Center & Seidman Cancer Center.

Surgeons implant the GammaTile in the last five minutes of surgery lining the area where the tumor was growing. Doctors say it’s a highly focused way of delivering treatment.

“Now this is a radioactive substance that gives off radiation, but it only travels a certain distance,” described Dr. Sloan.

Doctors say that way, healthy brain tissue is spared toxic doses of radiation. Once the tiles deliver the treatment, they are absorbed into the body, so there’s no need for additional surgery to remove them.

The GammaTiles were originally approved for use in 2019 for patients with recurrent tumors, but late last year, the FDA allowed surgeons to implant the materials in patients with newly diagnosed cancer, giving patients more treatment options.

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Don Dwyer

Don Dwyer is a Morning Anchor/Reporter at WGEM.

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