CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Surgery for a cancerous brain tumor can be an overwhelming experience, and so too can the follow-up radiation therapy that can involve multiple trips back to the hospital and significant side effects.
Dr. Andrew Sloan, the medical director of the Neuro Oncology Center at University Hospitals, is one of the only surgeons in the area using what’s called gamma tile therapy.
This is an FDA-approved, surgically-targeted radiation therapy that, among other benefits, can, Dr Sloan believes, limit the radiation damage to healthy tissue.
“It’s complicated to optimize treatment to the tumor alone, plus their is an exit dose, so every beam not only goes to the target, but it goes through normal tissue,” Dr. Sloan.
Following the removal of the tumor, a surgeon places the gamma tiles, as many as are needed, surrounding the area where the tumor was removed.
The tiles, embedded with radiation, target radiation therapy around the margins of the tumor.
“Even when we take out as much as we can, there is almost always some microscopic disease that is likely to recur,” Dr. Sloan said.
Gamma tiles were designed, specifically, to target remaining tumor cells, delay tumor regrowth, and eliminate the destruction of healthy tissue.
Also critical, according to Dr. Sloan, is the elimination of anywhere from 10 to 30 return trips to the hospital for traditional radiation therapy, and the side effects that follow.
“You can’t get back that time, and I think that time that the patients can go home and be with their families, I don’t think you can underestimate the importance of that,” Dr. Sloan said.
There is no need for a follow up surgery to remove the tiles as they are simply absorbed by the body.