New Laser Treatment for Brain Tumors Used on West Palm Beach Man - NBC 6 South Florida

New Laser Treatment for Brain Tumors Used on West Palm Beach Man

Light energy burns away deep and difficult brain tumors in the procedure



    Thomas Jambeck, 64, of West Palm Beach is the first patient in the state to be treated with a new laser procedure for brain tumors. Jambeck and Dr. Ricardo Komotar spoke about his case. (Published Thursday, April 11, 2013)

    A 64-year-old South Florida man is the first in the state to be treated with a new laser procedure for brain tumors.

    Light energy, delivered through a laser probe the size of a strand of thin spaghetti, is now being used to burn away deep and difficult brain tumors. The revolutionary procedure was performed Feb. 22 at University of Miami Hospital.

    "Using MR thermal therapy, you heat up the tip of this laser catheter, and you can essentially cook the tumor from the inside out," explained Dr. Ricardo Komotar, the director of surgical neuro-oncology at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. "But you protect all the critical structures that are around it and that's what's so exciting about this technology."

    The patient is Thomas Jambeck of West Palm Beach. Malignant melanoma had spread to his brain.

    New Laser Treatment for Seizures in Children

    [MI] New Laser Treatment for Seizures in Children
    Twelve-year-old Jessie Fernandez of Miami is the first child in South Florida to undergo a groundbreaking laser procedure for seizures. "Sometimes I was just in class and I was doing work and I would fall, and I had to get pulled out of class and they?d call the rescue, and it distracted me a lot in my life," she recounted.
    (Published Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015)

    "I was stumbling all over the place and that's what took us to the MRI that identified the two tumors," Jambeck said.

    VIDEO: Former South Florida Teacher With Brain Cancer Raises Money for His Vision Quest

    His radiation oncologist, Dr. Anthony Addesa, used Cyberknife – a non-invasive, precise way to deliver high-dose radiation to tumors – but it failed to control one of them. So Jambeck was referred to Dr. Komotar at UM. He's the first in Florida to use the Visualase Thermal Therapy System.

    Brain Cancer Vaccine Being Tested in Miami

    [MI] Brain Cancer Vaccine Being Tested in Miami
    41-year-old Cathy Hoffman-Booker of Weston is the first patient in Florida to try a new vaccine for GBM or glioblastoma multiformae, the most aggressive type of brain tumor. She's enrolled in a clinical trial at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. "The goal of the vaccine is to really spark her immune system to recognize those tumor cells as foreign, and then fight those tumor cells and keep them at bay, and hopefully keep them from coming back," explained neurosurgeon Dr. Ricardo Komotar.
    (Published Friday, Feb. 24, 2012)

    "At this point it is a great option for those carefully selected patients that have tried other modalities and have failed," Komotar said.

    He called it a game-changing technique that he expects will eventually become a first line of therapy for many patients.

    VIDEO: Brain Cancer Patient Defies the Odds

    Currently, the patients who are candidates for the treatment are those with primary or metastatic brain tumors that are considered inoperable or not controlled with traditional treatments.

    The laser procedure is actually performed in an MRI room, not an operating room, and only one stitch is needed to close the tiny opening into the brain. The tumor is heated to 122-140 degrees and it only takes a few minutes.

    The MRI scanner is equipped with special hardware that allows the doctor to visualize in real time the temperature of the tissue around the catheter and know which tissue is being destroyed and which tissue is not.

    New Laser Treatment for Seizures in Children

    The day after his procedure, Jambeck left the hospital.

    "I actually felt perfect on the way home. We needed to run an errand and we stopped at Lowe's and I was on a cart running through the store," he said. "I felt as if nothing at all had happened."

    While that tumor is gone, others have appeared. The new laser treatment will again be an option if all else fails.

    More Health Videos: