Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty procedures are the first step in the treatment of vertebral tumors. In this procedure bone cement is injected into the vertebrae to strengthen the bone that has been weakened by the tumor.
The natural progression of most cancers is to spread to bone, especially to the spine. These metastatic tumors are notoriously common and can cause pain, spine fractures, and neurologic problems, seriously reducing quality of life. Treatment of these tumors is challenging because two issues must be addressed—the cancer must be treated with radiation therapy and strength must be restored to the bone. This is especially crucial in weight bearing regions of the skeleton like the spine and hip, where tumors can weaken the bone to such an extent that the bone fractures just under the body’s own weight.
Conventional treatment for tumors in the spine occurs in two parts—a minimally invasive surgical procedure (kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty) to restore strength to the bone, followed by radiation therapy. The surgical procedure has a low rate of complications, is very effective, and can be performed in an outpatient surgery center under local anesthesia, with the patient awake. Even multiple levels of the spine can be treated successfully.
The second phase of treatment is the use of radiation from an external source to destroy tumor cells in the bone. External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT) is the standard of care for radiation therapy. Patients are required to undergo 10-20 of these outpatient procedures to deliver the therapeutic dose to the tumor and in the process the spinal cord, nerve roots and bowel are exposed to the radiation causing a variety of side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and skin reactions. Newer forms of radiation therapy, such as Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS), and Cyberknife utilize methods to limit exposure to other structures and in doing so require fewer visits to the hospital to complete the treatment, however, these technologies are not widespread due to cost to acquire and run these systems and the cost of performing these procedures is much higher than traditional EBRT.
Spine-Rad™ Cement is an alternative to conventional treatment that will improve patient care and quality of life for the hundreds of thousands of patients per year who develop painful tumors in the spine. In a single procedure, bone cement is delivered to strengthen the bone and simultaneously deliver a therapeutic radiation dose to the tumor site. Multiple visits for external beam radiation therapy are eliminated as are the side effects associated with radiation exposure to critical structures such as the spinal cord, nerve roots and bowel.
Bone-Rad’s proprietary cement formulation and dosimetry method enables the Spine-Rad™ Cement to deliver the radiation dose to the tumor site without penetrating beyond the vertebral body, minimizing radiation exposure to the spinal cord, nerve roots and bowel, thereby eliminating the side effects associated with external methods of radiation therapy.