CINCINNATI, Ohio. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— 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.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer & Field Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: GAMMATILES ZAP BRAIN CANCER
REPORT: MB #4809
BACKGROUND: An estimated 700,000 people in the United States are currently living with a primary brain tumor, and over 87,000 more will be diagnosed in 2020. About 61,000 will be benign. Meningiomas are the most commonly occurring primary non-malignant brain tumors. Just under 26,000 will be malignant. Glioblastoma is the most commonly occurring primary malignant brain tumor. Brain tumors can be deadly, greatly impact quality of life, and change everything for a patient and their loved ones. The average survival rate for all malignant brain tumor patients is only 36%. The rates vary by age and tumor type, generally decreasing with age.
CURRENT TREATMENTS: Treatment options depend on factors like the size, type, and grade of the tumor. Surgery is performed to remove the tumor and some surrounding healthy tissue during an operation. It’s usually the first treatment used for a brain tumor and often the only treatment needed for a low-grade tumor. Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays or other particles to destroy tumor cells. Doctors may use this to slow or stop the growth of a tumor. It is usually given after surgery and along with chemotherapy. Systemic therapy is the use of medication to destroy tumor cells and is given through the bloodstream to reach tumor cells throughout the body. Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy tumor cells, usually by keeping the tumor cells from growing, dividing, and making more cells. Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the tumor’s specific genes, proteins, or tissue environment that contributes to a tumor’s growth and survival. This type of treatment blocks growth and spread of tumor cells and limits the damage to healthy cells. Alternating electric field therapy uses a noninvasive portable device that interferes with the parts of a cell that are needed for tumor cells to grow and spread.
NEW RESEARCH TO PREVENT CANCER RECURRENCE: A company based in Arizona received FDA clearance for its GammaTiles to be used to prevent malignant brain tumors in newly diagnosed patients. These tiles are about the size of a postage stamp and contain Cesium-131, a radioactive isotope with a half-life of about ten days. Radioactive seeds that are placed in a collagen material are resorbable by the body and don’t require a separate extraction procedure. This surgery is considered a targeted radiation therapy and was recently made available in a few hospitals for patients with recurrent brain tumors. In a clinical study, GammaTile Therapy gave the average patient approximately ten extra months without a local recurrence with extended overall survival.
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