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Beyond the Odds: Mary’s Story Surviving Glioblastoma

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Mary, Brain tumor patient

Mary wasn’t feeling well and left a message for her doctor in the morning. Later that day, she collapsed at work and woke up with paramedics standing over her. At the hospital, Mary had a CT scan and was diagnosed with a glioblastoma.

Glioblastomas are the most common and aggressive malignant brain tumors in adults.1

In November of 2018, Mary had surgery to remove her tumor at Mayfield Brain and Spine in Cincinnati, Ohio. In the six weeks that followed, she underwent 36 rounds of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and chemotherapy with temozolomide. Mary describes the radiation treatments as brutal — she experienced nausea, vomiting, and hair loss, but she made it through.

Unfortunately, Mary’s tumor recurred within six months. Her physician care team at Mayfield Brain and Spine suggested that she consider GammaTile® Surgically Targeted Radiation Therapy. Unlike the external beam radiation Mary had experienced, GammaTile Therapy is a one-time internal radiation therapy that a neurosurgeon implants at the end of tumor removal surgery in the area where the tumor is most likely to return.

Glioblastoma Tumor MRI scan
A scan of Mary's Glioblastoma

Each GammaTile has radiation sources embedded in a small collagen ”tile” that deliver a precise dose of radiation focused right where it is needed. GammaTiles are specially designed for use in the brain and to minimize side effects. There’s no need for surgery to remove tiles as the body naturally absorbs the collagen after radiation has been delivered.

After what Mary had been through with her previous radiation treatments (five times per week for six weeks) and the unpleasant side effects she experienced, she was ready to try anything. She woke up from her brain tumor removal surgery with peace of mind knowing that her GammaTile Therapy radiation treatment was already underway. Mary was back home from the hospital in two days and experienced no side effects or hair loss related to GammaTile Therapy.

Mary is out from her initial operation almost three years, which is definitely beyond the odds with glioblastomas. Mary has been an inspiration for us and other patients. She’s maintained a positive attitude the entire time.”

Vincent DiNapoli, Neurosurgeon, Mayfield Brain and Spine

Mary’s husband, Tony, says GammaTile Therapy gave them hope — he keeps telling her, “We’re going to grow old together.”

A brain tumor diagnosis can be overwhelming. Fortunately, various proven FDA-cleared and FDA-approved treatment options are available. However, it’s important to remember that not all treatments are alike. As you evaluate your treatment options, consider how each treatment compares to others regarding its safety and effectiveness, side effects, how soon treatment can begin, and finally, how it will affect your and your caregiver’s quality of life.

For operable brain tumors, including glioblastomas, brain metastases, and malignant meningiomas, GammaTile Therapy is a one-time, targeted radiation treatment with limited side effects and far less chance of hair loss than traditional radiation.2  GammaTile Therapy is available at top brain tumor centers across the United States. Find one near you at GammaTile.com.

Mary and her neurosurgeon Dr. Vincent DiNapoli, discuss her treatment on a local TV channel. Click image to watch story.
Mary and her surgeon, Dr. Vincent DiNapoli, shared her story on the local news in Cincinnati (Click image to watch story.)


1. Tan AC, Ashley DM, López GY, et al. Management of glioblastoma: State of the art and future directions. CA Cancer J Clin. 2020;70:299-312.

2. Gessler DJ, Ferreira C, Dusenbery K, Chen CC. GammaTile®: Surgically targeted radiation therapy for glioblastomas. Future Oncol. 2020;16(30):2445-2455. 

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