San Diego Gamma Knife Center: Diagnostic Precision Leads to Treatment Precision for Primary Brain Gliomas

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Thanks to better diagnostic procedures and technologies, cases of primary brain tumors are on the rise, but better diagnostic capabilities offer patients and providers greater insight into which treatments will be most effective. Therapies like Gamma Knife™ radiosurgery allow for precise, non-invasive treatment of even difficult to manage brain tumors, like astrocytomas.

Dr. John Alksne, Professor of Neurosurgery at University of California, San Diego, discusses the impact of Gamma Knife radiosurgery for people living with glimoas.

"Radiosurgery using Gamma Knife™ is a highly-effective treatment option for people living with gliomas. This life-saving treatment offers a relief from brain tumor symptoms and management of the tumor itself."

Last year, over 79,000 new cases of primary brain tumors were diagnosed worldwide (1), with almost 24,000 cases occurring within the United States. (2) Primary brain tumors originate inside the brain itself. Almost 25% of all primary brain tumors are gliomas (1), which develop from glial cells that surround nerves and help them function correctly. (3) But better diagnostic tools are paving the way for more effective treatment options which can begin earlier and are less-invasive compared to more traditional therapies, say experts at the industry leading San Diego Gamma Knife Center®. Better treatment, such as Gamma Knife™ radiosurgery, gives patients hope for better outcomes with minimal side effects.

Brain tumors like gliomas are diagnosed using a combination of microscopic tissue examination and genomic tests. (4) These procedures help doctors identify gliomas and predict how tumors will respond to treatment. But examining tissue samples under a microscope is subjective, and, in many cases, different pathologists provide different opinions as to the nature and stage of a specific brain tumor tissue sample. But new technology, which couples artificial intelligence (AI) with data from tissue biopsies is proving to be more accurate than traditional tumor diagnostic methods. (4)

This is good news for people living with brain tumors. Out of all gliomas diagnosed worldwide, more than 30% are identified as astrocytomas, a notoriously difficult type of brain cancer to treat as it easily spreads throughout brain tissue. (1) In addition to new diagnostic tools using AI, dynamic contrast material-enhanced (DCE) and dynamic susceptibility contrast magnetic resonance (DSC-MR) are providing doctors with better tumor staging accuracy compared to standard methods. (5)

And better, more accurate diagnosis means more effective treatment can begin sooner. Many people living with astrocytomas are not surgical candidates because their tumors are located deep within normal brain tissue. And for many, other treatment options, like chemotherapy, cause side effects that significantly disrupt normal life. For these patients, and for others searching for a more precision-guided approach to treatment, Gamma Knife™ treatment offers effective management of primary brain tumors, including gliomas like astrocytomas.

Dr. John Alksne, Profession of Neurosurgery at University of California, San Diego and credentialed neurosurgeon with San Diego Gamma Knife Center®, says, “Radiosurgery using Gamma Knife™ is a highly-effective treatment option for people living with gliomas. This life-saving treatment offers a relief from brain tumor symptoms and management of the tumor itself. And compared to other therapies like chemo and surgery, Gamma Knife™ offers more precise treatment in a non-invasive manner, helping spare the patient from many unpleasant side effects and preserving as much healthy tissue as possible.”

Gamma Knife™ radiosurgery is generally performed on an outpatient basis, and most patients resume normal activities on the same day as treatment. And compared to other cancer therapies, side effects are generally minimal — headache and fatigue are most commonly reported. (6)

The San Diego Gamma Knife Center® has already helped over 4,000 people manage their brain tumors and lead healthier lives. As the industry leading Gamma Knife™ treatment center in San Diego County, they are primed to provide this life-saving treatment to citizens of California, the United States, and the world.

About San Diego Gamma Knife Center:
Since its opening, the San Diego Gamma Knife Center® has treated over 4,000 patients with various brain disorders from around the world. The facility is equipped to provide advanced radiosurgical treatment for a variety of conditions, including metastatic brain tumors, primary brain tumors, arteriovenous malformations, and functional disorders such as trigeminal neuralgia and cluster headaches.

On the campus of Scripps Memorial Hospital, the Center offers the use of its facilities to some of the top neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists in Southern California. It’s also a proud partner of the Neurosciences Department of Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, helping to provide accurate diagnoses, treatment and support for a range of neurological conditions and disorders. To learn more about the San Diego Gamma Knife Center®, please visit

Media Inquiries:
Ash Richardson

1.    Glioma Diagnosis and Treatment Market Analysis 2018 (By Segment, Key Players and Applications) and Forecasts To 2023. MedGadget. Accessed June 30, 2018.
2.    Brain Tumor: Statistics. American Society of Clinical Oncology. Accessed June 30, 2018.
3.    Glioma. Mayo Clinic. Accessed June 30, 2018.
4.    Paul, Marla. “Machines see the future for patients diagnosed with brain tumors”. Northwestern University. Accessed June 30, 2018.
5.    Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced, Susceptibility Contrast MR Images Help Grade Gliomas. Diagnostic Imaging. Accessed June 30, 2018.
6.    Gamma Knife FAQs. San Diego Gamma Knife Center. Accessed June 30, 2018.

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Karla Jo Helms
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