Medical Isotope Irradiations
At the MITR-II we irradiate gold-198 seeds for use in brachytherapy (internal radiotherapy). Brachytherapy involves inserting a radioactive source (typically gold or iridium) inside or next to the area requiring treatment while reducing the radiation exposure in the surrounding healthy tissues. Brachytherapy is commonly used as an effective treatment for cervical, prostate, breast, and skin cancer and can also be used to treat tumors.
Gold-198 seeds are used in permanent seed implant therapy involving injecting approximately 30-100 radioactive seeds into the prostate gland. They give off their radiation at a low dose rate over several weeks, and then the seeds can remain in the prostate gland permanently. Brachytherapy can be used for a wide range of prostate stages, PSA values, and tumor grades. The components and dosages are modified for those with low, intermediate, or high risk prostate cancer. This treatment can also be used for many tumors which are considered too advanced for radical prostatectomy. As long as there is no obvious spread to distant areas of the body, like the bones, this treatment may be considered. For early stages, treatment may be an alternative to the radical prostatectomy, but with less side effects.