About Sirtex

Sirtex is a global life-sciences company that develops and delivers effective oncology treatments using novel small particle technology. 

What are SIR-Spheres® Y-90 resin microspheres?

SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres are a medical device used in interventional oncology and delivered to the liver via Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT). 


The SIRT procedure enables high doses of radiation to be targeted to liver tumours by using the tumour's blood supply. Click here for an animation.

Healthy liver tissue derives up to 90% of its blood supply from the portal vein with only a small amount of the blood supply being derived from the hepatic artery. In contrast, liver tumours derive up to 90% of their blood supply from the hepatic artery since they need a profuse supply of highly oxygenated blood. The hepatic artery therefore provides an ideal channel to deliver targeted treatment to the tumour.

SIR-Spheres® Y-90 resin microspheres consist of biocompatible polymer resin microspheres of a median diameter of 32.5 microns (range between 20 and 60 microns) loaded with yttrium-90 (beta radiation penetrating an average of 2.5 mm in tissue to destroy tumour cells). The resin microspheres are small enough to become lodged in the arterioles within the growing rim of the tumour but are too large to pass through the capillaries and into the venous system. Since yttrium-90 has a half-life of 64.1 hours, most of the radiation (94%) is delivered to the tumour over 11 days.

As SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres are targeted directly at the liver tumours via the hepatic artery, exposure to the remaining healthy liver tissue is minimised. Due to their relatively small specific gravity of 1.1 g/ml, SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres travel with the blood stream and are taken deep into the tumour microvasculature where they become lodged. SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres can therefore be delivered in a slow deliberate manner to achieve an even distribution, maximising the number of microspheres delivered, and optimising tumour coverage - even in patients with extensive disease.

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