GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) - A procedure, performed for the first time in North Carolina in the East, is advancing how doctors treat brain tumors.
Surgeons at Vidant Cancer Care and The Brody School of Medicine have successfully performed GammaTile therapy.
It's also the first time the procedure has been done in North Carolina.
Doctors said, most tumors are treated with surgery and then radiation is used in small doses, to take care of what's left behind because the brain can't handle large doses of radiation without the fear of brain damage.
Radiation Oncologist Dr. Matthew Sean Peach said the GammaTile therapy changes traditional treatment and creates therapy options for patients.
He said, "As a result, you get a very high dose of radiation, most likely, biologically more effective than we would with traditional external beam radiation or a gamma knife and that level of radiation falls off with distance."
By implanting a 3D-collagen tile containing Cesium radiation in the patient's brain, the procedure allows radiation to be sent to the tumor for the next 33 days.
This takes out multiple trips back and forth to the doctor and the best part is that the radiation is concentrated in one area, preventing damage to other parts of the brain.
The procedure is a surgically targeted radiation therapy, Or (STaRT), designed to delay aggressive tumor regrowth for patients with brain tumors. without incisions or messing with other parts of the brain.
"By getting a head "STaRT" on fighting the tumor, resection plus GammaTile Therapy extends local recurrence-free survival with minimal complications, reduced patient burden, and assured compliance," Vidant Medical Center said.
The first procedure was completed a little over a month ago on a 76 year old woman.
Conventional radiation wasn't an option for this patient and it was important to get a high dose of radiation to the tumor.
This procedure represents Vidant and Brody's shared mission of bringing high-quality health care to eastern North Carolina.
The 2nd procedure was completed 2 weeks ago.
Medical professionals say they hope that this will be the initial form of treatment in the future, without surgery.
Medical professionals say they hope to get the procedure approved as an initial treatment option.