Medical isotope maker IsoRay Inc recently announced the world’s first successful treatment of metastasized brain cancer using its proprietary Cesium-131 internal radiation therapy (brachytherapy). Surgeons at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center performed the treatment, representing a major milestone for the Washington-based company. Metastasized cancers are cancers, which originate in other organs.
The surgeons directly implanted the Cesium-131 seeds into a woman's brain to treat the cancer which had originated in the breast. This represents the latest application of the company’s innovative brachytherapy treatment. Following the first treatment, the doctors expanded the application of the Cesium-131 seeds to over 20 other patients with metastasized brain cancer and recurrent glioblastomas (brain tumors).
Brain cancer is among the fastest growing cancers with more than 575 people being diagnosed with this condition in the U.S. each day. Treatment of brain tumors is challenging as they are very difficult to remove completely given the need to avoid damaging the brain.
Typically, surgeons remove most of the tumor followed by treatment of the surrounding areas with radiation therapy. Doctors have to wait for several weeks (until the patient recovers from the surgery) before beginning the radiation therapy.
However, brain tumors often recur shortly following the surgery. According to a radiation oncologist at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, Cesium-131 offers surgeons the opportunity to act immediately and thus, represents an important therapeutic alternative over the legacy external beam radiation therapy. Cesium-131 seeds deliver radiation faster than other internal, low dose rate radiation while limiting damage to healthy surrounding tissues and organs.
IsoRay develops and markets isotope-based medical products and devices for the treatment of cancer and other malignant diseases. It competes with Theragenics and C.R. Bard (BCR - Analyst Report), among others.
The company booked 92% of its revenues for fiscal 2011 from the sales of Cesium-131 seeds for prostate cancer. IsoRay is optimistic that expanded market traction of Cesium-131 coupled with ongoing clinical developments and new product launches would spur growth moving forward.