A New York City First: Brain Cancer Patient Receives Unique Liquid Radiation Treatment at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell

Following Surgical Removal of Brain Tumor, GliaSite Balloon Catheter Is Inserted in Brain Tumor Cavity, Where it Delivers Liquid Radiation

Mar 22, 2004

New York, NY

A patient with metastatic brain cancer has become the first in the New York City area to receive the unique GliaSite Radiation Therapy System (RTS). A team of neurosurgeons and radiation specialists led by neurosurgeon Dr. Susan Pannullo performed this procedure at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Following the surgical removal of the patient's brain tumor, the GliaSite balloon catheter system was inserted into the remaining cavity. Liquid radiation was then injected to fill the balloon. The radioactive liquid remained in the balloon for several days, where it delivered radiation directly to the area in the brain where cancer would most likely recur.

Unlike conventional radiation that may lead to cognitive defects, GliaSite brachytherapy treats only the targeted area in the brain, says Dr. Theodore Schwartz, the neurosurgeon who performed the removal of the tumor and placement of the balloon. Dr. Schwartz is Assistant Attending Neurological Surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Several days after the surgical removal of the brain tumor and the implantation of the GliaSite balloon catheter, the brachytherapy treatment is initiated. A steady dose of radiation is emitted by Iotrex a liquid radiation source specifically designed to treat patients with malignant tumors after it is injected into the implanted balloon. The Iotrex delivers radiation to the edges of the tumor cavity, targeting tissue where cancer may remain. The Iotrex remains in the balloon until the prescribed amount of radiation is delivered, after which time the device and the Iotrex are removed.

Dr. David Sherr Assistant Attending Radiologist and Residency Program Director at the Stich Radiation Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and Assistant Professor of Clinical Radiology at Weill Cornell Medical College administered the Iotrex injection.

Metastatic brain cancer occurs when cancer cells migrate to the brain from a primary cancer elsewhere in the body, and form a tumor or tumors there. More than 170,000 Americans are diagnosed every year with metastatic brain tumors. With traditional therapies, median survival is only 11 months. GliaSite RTS is also effective for other types of brain cancer, such as primary brain tumors like Glioblastoma Multiforme.

The GliaSite Radiation Therapy System (RTS), FDA-approved, is manufactured by Proxima Therapeutics, Inc., of Alpharetta, Georgia.

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell's Neuro-Oncology Division offers the full spectrum of traditional and new and innovative treatments including surgery, radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, chemotherapy, and complementary therapies. Brachytherapy, which involves placing the source of radiation directly within the tumor, has long been a special interest of the Radiation Oncology program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and is used to treat a range of cancers.

According to Dr. Pannullo Director of the Division of Neuro-Oncology and Assistant Attending Neurological Surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College: This project represents yet another step in the multidisciplinary, aggressive approach that we take at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell in the fight against brain cancers.