What is a GammaTile?

A GammaTile is a Surgically Targeted Radiation Therapy (STaRT) specifically designed for use inside the brain. The two centimeter by two centimeter tile is four millimeters thick and is implanted into the cavity of a recurrent brain tumor or progressive Grade 2 or 3 meningioma at the time of removal. The tile distributes radiation directly to the tissue where a tumor was once growing while leaving healthy tissue undisturbed. In a clinical study, the median time to tumor recurrence was doubled compared to the patients’ most recent prior same-site treatment. The GammaTile is a bioresorbable, conformable 3-D collagen tile embedded with four Cesium 131 seeds to produce the radiation therapy. Vidant Medical Center is one of only eight GammaTile centers in the United States and the only one in North Carolina as of December 2019.

Left, a CT scan shows radiation from a GammaTile at work within the brain. Right, the dimensions of a GammaTile are shown on a 3D model.
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How does GammaTile therapy work?

The GammaTile is placed immediately after removal of a recurrent brain tumor and starts fighting residual tumor cells right away. GammaTile therapy works by disrupting the tumor cell replication process. The tile gives off 50 percent of the therapeutic dose within the first 10 days after surgery, 88 percent of the dose is delivered within 30 days and more than 95 percent is delivered by six weeks and the collagen tile is naturally absorbed by the body over time. During the time that radiation is administered by the tile, patients can go on with their everyday activities.

What are the benefits of GammaTile?

The advantages of the GammaTile begin with patients not being required to return to the hospital for daily treatments. For a patient to receive external beam radiation therapy, they must wait two to three weeks after surgery to begin radiation therapy. The treatment schedule is typically 15 to 30 sessions, five days a week for three to six weeks, but GammaTile therapy allows patients to stay out of the hospital and receive radiation directly. GammaTile can also replace brachytherapy, which is another radiation source placed within the tumor cavity during surgery. However, brachytherapy’s radiation dosage can be extremely high and damage healthy brain tissue. The GammaTile implant procedure does not require a longer hospital stay following the operation.

Who is eligible for GammaTile treatment?

Patients with recurrent tumors in the brain are eligible to receive the GammaTile. Patients who have already received radiation treatment can still be eligible for GammaTile therapy. It is only FDA approved for patients with all types of recurrent brain tumors.

What are some side effects of GammaTile treatment?

GammaTile typically has fewer side effects compared to other radiation treatments. The possible complications of neurosurgery may apply to the GammaTile, including but not limited to, cerebrospinal fluid leaks, infection, delayed hemorrhage, seizures and adhesion formation.

For more information on GammaTile therapy, speak with your neuro-oncologist.

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