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As a type of chemotherapy drug, Gliadel is used to treat certain cancerous brain tumors called malignant glioma and glioblastoma multiforme. This prescription medication comes in the form of a wafer that is surgically implanted into the brain after a tumor is removed. It works by interfering with how DNA strands replicate, preventing growth of cancer cells.

What Is Gliadel?

Gliadel® (carmustine implant) is a prescription medication approved to treat certain types of cancerous brain tumors known as malignant glioma and glioblastoma multiforme. The medication is unique because it is implanted directly into the brain during surgery.
Gliadel belongs to a group of medicines known as nitrosoureas. Nitrosourea medicines belong to a broader group of chemotherapy drugs known as alkylating agents.
Gliadel is sometimes referred to as polifeprosan 20 with carmustine implant. Polifeprosan 20 is a biodegradable molecule used to control the delivery of the active drug in Gliadel, carmustine. As polifeprosan degrades (breaks down), it releases carmustine into the brain.
(Click Gliadel Uses for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes This Medication?

Gliadel is made by Eisai, Inc.

Clinical Effects

In clinical studies, Gliadel was shown to improve survival in people with newly diagnosed cancerous brain tumors (gliomas). In one study, people who received the implant during surgery to remove their brain tumor had a median survival of 13.8 months, compared with a median survival of 11.6 months in people who were given a placebo implant (an implant that did not contain any active ingredients) during surgery to remove their brain tumor. Median survival is the time at which half of the people are still alive and half are not. Everyone in the study also received radiation therapy.
In another study that involved people with recurrent brain tumors (tumors that returned after previous treatment), median survival was increased from 5.5 months in people with glioblastoma multiforme (a type of aggressive brain tumor) given a placebo implant to 6.4 months in people with the condition who received Gliadel.
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