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Medical center first hospital in region to offer internal radiation therapy treatment for brain cancer


Posted on: 03/19/2005

Posted Saturday, March 19 at 8:46 AM

Medical center first hospital in region to offer internal radiation therapy treatment for brain cancer

from staff reports

GAINESVILLE - The Radiation Oncology department at The Cancer Center at Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) recently performed their first GliaSite radiation therapy treatment, an internal radiation therapy that delivers radiation directly at the site of the tumor for patients with brain cancer.

Each year, more than 160,000 people in the U. S. are diagnosed with malignant brain tumors; of those about 17,000 have a primary brain tumor (which originates in the brain) and more than 150,000 people have a metastatic brain tumor (which results from tumors that first existed in other parts of the body and spread to the brain).

Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2001, GliaSite can treat newly diagnosed solitary metastatic brain tumors and recurrent primary brain tumors by delivering a high dose of radiation from within the cavity created by the surgical removal of the tumor while minimizing damage to healthy tissue.

“The Cancer Center at Northeast Georgia Medical Center is dedicated to providing the most advanced treatments for patients with brain cancer, and we are pleased to be able to offer this important therapy for patients who are candidates for this procedure,” says Frank Lake, MD, a radiation oncologist at The Cancer Center who performed the first GliaSite treatment at NGMC.

The treatment works as follows: after surgery to remove a patient’s brain tumor, an uninflated GliaSite balloon catheter is placed inside the space left by the removal of the tumor. The other end of the catheter extends outside of the skull and is concealed underneath the skin at the top of the head. Once the patient has recovered from surgery, a solution containing Iotrex, a proprietary liquid radiation source specifically designed to treat patients with malignant tumors, is injected into the catheter and fills the balloon. Iotrex delivers radiation to the edges of the tumor cavity, targeting places where cancer may remain. Once the Iotrex is in the balloon, it delivers the prescribed treatment over a three to seven day period of time. The Iotrex mixture is then withdrawn, and the GliaSite catheter is removed during a brief surgical procedure.

“The advantage to GliaSite is that it permits the delivery of high dose radiation directly to the target area, while decreasing the damage to healthy tissue,” says Dr. Lake.

Gliasite therapy gives another important option for patients with recurrent primary brain tumors that have recurred following surgery and conventional radiation. These patients can now undergo another surgery, have the tumor removed and the GliaSite cath inserted at that time.

The safety and performance of the GliaSite for recurrent primary brain tumors has been proven in a multi-center clinical study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. On average, patients who received the GliaSite treatment had an average survival rate of 387 days, with a 52 percent survival rate after one year

©Copyright 2005 / WDUN News/Talk 550.

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