UF Health’s Plaque Therapy Spares Healthy Tissue in Eye Cancer Patients – Florida Trend
Using a precision radiation therapy procedure called plaque therapy, UF Health can save the eyes of eye cancer patients.
Used to treat patients with uveal melanoma, plaque therapy delivers tightly focused radiation to the precise location of the tumor without destroying other eye tissue.
“If you go back just 25 years, patients had their eyes removed because they had cancer,” says Dr. Gibran S. Khurshid, specialist in ophthalmology and associate professor at the University’s medical school. from Florida.
With plaque therapy, an eye doctor irradiates the tumor using a gold implant the size of a contact lens. Known as a radioactive iodine plaque, the implant delivers tiny radioactive seeds, usually half the size of a grain of rice, to the melanoma.
The procedure requires two appointments 96 hours apart. In the first procedure, the doctor inserts a “dummy” plate to establish precise location and contact with the melanoma. In the second procedure, the dummy is replaced by the radioactive plaque. Then the plate is stitched into place, where it stays for four days and delivers precise doses of radiation to the tumor.
Although the process can be painful, only one treatment is needed and “the success rate is almost 99%,” says Khurshid.
Currently, eye cancer affects approximately six patients per million, which represents approximately 3,320 new cases each year, according to the American Cancer Society.