GT Medical Technologies, a company based in Tempe, Arizona, won FDA clearance for its GammaTiles to be used to prevent malignant brain tumors in newly diagnosed patients. The devices, about the size of a postage stamp, contain Cesium-131, a radioactive isotope with a half life of about ten days.
The collagen material within which the radioactive seeds are placed is resorbable by the body and doesn’t require a separate extraction procedure. This surgically targeted radiation therapy procedure was recently made available in a few hospitals for patients with recurrent brain tumors, but the new indication makes the devices, a rare new treatment, available for new cases.
After a tumor is removed, a gamma tile is left in place to attack any newly growing cells within its vicinity. Since tumors grow significantly faster than healthy tissue, this works mostly to impede diseased cells from proliferating. Moreover, this allows surgeons to be very precise as to where they place the radiation source.
In a clinical study, GammaTile Therapy gave the average patient approximately ten extra months without a local recurrence with extended overall survival. Clark C. Chen, M.D., Ph.D., head of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School, presented data from his first patients treated with GammaTile at the 2019 Society of Neuro-Oncology (SNO) Annual Meeting. Consistent with data published in a peer-reviewed article, Chen reported that local control was achieved in approximately 90% of patients who underwent gross total resection. This impressive result was achieved without an increase in wound complications or length of hospital stay. “GammaTile Therapy is an important addition to the armamentarium of treatments available against brain cancer,” said Dr. Chen.