Below are the answers to important questions about GammaTile Therapy. Speak with your treatment team to see if GammaTile Therapy is right for you or your loved one.
GammaTile is a Surgically Targeted Radiation Therapy (STaRT) for operable brain tumors that provides immediate radiation treatment after tumor removal. Each GammaTile has radiation sources embedded in a collagen tile that deliver a precise dose of radiation focused right where it is needed and away from healthy brain tissue. In a clinical study, this resulted in nearly twice as many tumor-free months compared to the patients’ most recent prior same-site treatment. Watch this animation to learn how GammaTile targets brain tumors.
Hear Dr Jay McCracken, neurosurgical oncologist at Piedmont Health System Atlanta, discuss his reasons for choosing GammaTile Therapy.
The neurosurgeon places the GammaTile(s) precisely where and when treatment will help the most—at the tumor site immediately after tumor removal. Like other radiation therapies, GammaTile Therapy works by disrupting the tumor cell replication process. Radiation damages the tumor cell DNA, so the cell is unable to replicate and eventually dies. The collagen tile keeps the radiation sources in place while the radiation is being released. Over time, the body naturally absorbs the collagen tile.
Yes, GammaTile Therapy is FDA-cleared to deliver radiation therapy for patients with newly diagnosed malignant brain tumors and recurrent brain tumors.
Hear Dr Jay McCracken, neurosurgical oncologist at Piedmont Health System Atlanta, share his perspective on what patients are good candidates for GammaTile Therapy.
The two most common types of radiation therapy used to treat brain tumors are external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and brachytherapy.
With EBRT, the radiation comes from a machine outside of the body into the tumor area. One of the drawbacks of EBRT is that patients have to wait 4 to 6 weeks before beginning the radiation therapy to allow the surgical incision to heal after tumor removal surgery due to the potential of the radiation interfering with wound healing. Unfortunately, this treatment lapse provides a window for any remaining tumor cells to replicate and grow. In addition, EBRT requires an intense treatment schedule (of typically 15 to 30 sessions, 5 days a week, for 3 to 6 weeks) at a hospital or treatment center.
With brachytherapy, or internal radiation therapy, radiation sources are placed within the tumor resection cavity during surgery. While the radiation begins working right away, the dose can be extremely high around the radiation source. This can cause serious side effects, including swelling and damage to healthy brain tissue.
GammaTile Therapy starts targeting any remaining tumor cells immediately upon placement. With GammaTile Therapy, there is no intense treatment schedule, or need for patients and their caregivers to travel to and from a treatment center. Patients receive treatment in the comfort of their own homes, going about their daily life.
GammaTile Therapy is different from traditional brachytherapy because the collagen tile provides a buffer around the radiation sources. This buffer allows the patient to receive the optimal dose of radiation to the tumor cells, while the therapy preserves healthy tissue and minimizes complications.
GammaTile Therapy gives patients a head start in the fight against brain tumor regrowth while reducing the potential for side effects.
Hear Dr Jay McCracken, neurosurgical oncologist at Piedmont Health System Atlanta, explain typical radiation therapy compared to GammaTile Therapy.
No, typically there is no need to extend your hospital stay or to travel for additional, ongoing radiation treatments.
Hear Dr Clark Chen, the chair of Neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota, describe what a patient should expect from surgery.
No, GammaTile Therapy placement only takes a few minutes at the end of surgery.
Hear Dr Clark Chen the chair of Neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota, describe what a patient should expect from surgery.
Your treatment team may use GammaTile Therapy in conjunction with chemotherapy, depending on the type of tumor. Talk with your treatment team for guidance about your individual care plan.
Hear Dr Clark Chen, the chair of Neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota, talk about how GammaTile Therapy can be used in conjunction with chemotherapy.
With GammaTile Therapy, radiation does not have to travel from outside of the body through the scalp to reach the tumor cells. Therefore, the likelihood of hair loss is low. In a clinical study on GammaTile Therapy, only 1 out of 74 patients experienced hair loss.
In a recent clinical study, all patients treated with GammaTile Therapy had previously had radiation therapy in the brain. However every situation is unique. Together with your care team, your radiation oncologist will review your previous records to determine if GammaTile Therapy might be right for you.
With GammaTile Therapy, 90% of the radiation dose is delivered in 33 days. After 100 days, the GammaTile radiation sources are considered completely free of radiation.
The potential for radiation exposure to others depends on the amount of GammaTiles implanted, the location of the tiles, and other clinical factors that are unique to each patient. In a clinical study, modeled family and visitor radiation exposure was well below regulatory limits. Your treatment team will give you instructions about radiation precautions prior to discharge if they deem precautions are necessary. For more information about this, please talk to your healthcare provider.
Hear Dr Adam Nowlan, the Medical Director of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, describe what a patient should expect after surgery.
No, one of the great things about GammaTile Therapy is that the body naturally absorbs the collagen tile and the small, inactive seeds remain in the body.
Currently, GammaTile Therapy is only indicated to treat newly diagnosed malignant brain tumors and recurrent brain tumors.
Yes, it is possible to receive GammaTile Therapy more than once if you meet the medical criteria and you and your healthcare provider decide it is appropriate for you.
Compared to other radiation treatments, GammaTile Therapy side effects are typically fewer. The potential for adverse events depends on the radiosensitivity of the exposed tissue, the amount of radiation delivered, and the placement of GammaTile(s).
Because GammaTile is placed during tumor removal surgery, the possible complications of neurosurgery may also apply; including, but not limited to, cerebrospinal fluid leaks, infection, delayed hemorrhage, seizures, and adhesion formation. For more information about potential side effects, talk to your healthcare provider.
GammaTile is considered radiation therapy and is allowable in many clinical trials. However, each clinical trial has unique inclusion and exclusion criteria. We recommend speaking with your neuro-oncologist about a specific clinical trial you are considering.
Hear Dr Erin Dunbar, the Director of Neuro-Oncology at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, explain how GammaTile fits into a patient’s sequence of care, including clinical trial participation.