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NorthShore University HealthSystem Neurosurgeon First in Illinois to Offer New Targeted Therapy for Brain Tumors

NorthShore University HealthSystem Neurosurgeon First in Illinois to Offer New Targeted Therapy for Brain Tumors

3/10/2020 – NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) neurosurgeon, Julian Bailes, MD, is the first in Illinois to begin offering GammaTile® Therapy, a new approach to treating malignant brain tumors. The FDA-cleared, Surgically Targeted Radiation Therapy (STaRT) is designed to delay tumor regrowth for patients with high grade gliomas, meningiomas and brain metastases. The first patient in the state was treated by Dr. Bailes who is chairman of the department of neurosurgery and co-director of the NorthShore Neurological Institute. Neuro-oncologist Ryan Merrell, MD, will also be participating in this new surgical therapy at NorthShore.

Aggressive brain tumors tend to be resistant to current treatments and have a high likelihood of recurrence. Smaller than a postage stamp (2cm x 2cm), the GammaTile is a 3D-collagen tile embedded with Cesium-131 radiation that can be placed at the tumor site after the tumor is surgically removed. It immediately begins to target residual tumor cells with radiation while limiting the impact on healthy brain tissue. It adds just five to ten minutes to surgery time and is absorbed in the body within two months; therefore, eliminating the need to be surgically removed.

“We are excited to offer this new treatment that protects healthy brain tissue while providing immediate, targeted therapy directly to the area that’s most at risk for recurrence,” said Dr. Bailes. “Most patients report fewer side effects and better quality of life since this eliminates the wait time and multiple visits typically associated with standard radiation treatment after the removal of a tumor.”

GammaTile Therapy is the only radiation therapy specifically designed for use in the brain and offers advantages for patients undergoing surgery for brain tumors. GammaTile begins targeting residual tumor cells immediately at the time of tumor removal surgery, rather than waiting several weeks for surgical wound healing before beginning treatment. GammaTile protects healthy brain tissue while delivering a targeted dose to any remaining tumor cells.  The unique design also limits side effects typically associated with radiation therapy, including hair loss.  Additionally, the burden of radiation treatment is reduced for patients treated with GammaTile Therapy.  These patients receive their course of radiation while going about their daily lives, requiring no additional trips to the hospital or clinic for radiation therapy.

A male patient in his thirties was the first patient in Illinois to receive this treatment. He had brain surgery and standard chemotherapy and radiation last April. Dr. Bailes says GammaTile therapy shows great promise for prolonging survival and improving quality of life for this patient and others.

Research has shown that patients who received surgery plus GammaTile Therapy had approximately two times improvement in median time to tumor recurrence compared to their most recent prior same site treatment – 19.9 months (a 9.7 month improvement across all tumor types in the clinical study). Additional data supporting the efficacy and safety profile of the therapy for patients with recurrent, previously treated meningioma’s was published in the Journal of Neurosurgery (JNS), the official journal of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

“We are honored to be working with the brain tumor specialists at NorthShore to deploy GammaTile Therapy for the purpose of improving the lives of patients with brain tumors,” said Matt Likens, president and CEO of GT MedTech. “We are excited to begin expanding the availability of GammaTile Therapy to other leading brain tumor treatment centers across the U.S.”