Washington: Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) happens to be the nastiest and most
common brain tumour, affecting 10,000 patients in the US alone
every year. Now, a novel non-invasive procedure called Tumour
Treating Fields (TTF) that inhibits tumour growth is offering hope
to thousands, says a study.
On the average, a patient with GBM survives less than 15 months
with optimal treatment and only three to five months without
additional effective treatment.
The TTF procedure, which disrupts rapid cell division exhibited by
cancer cells with the help of alternating electrical fields, may
provide physicians with a fourth treatment option in addition to
surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
"Patients with recurrent GBM present a significant treatment
challenge," said Santosh Kesari, director of Neuro-Oncology at
University of California San Diego Moores Cancer Centre.
"The initial clinical research for the approval trial demonstrated
that, compared to patients who were treated with chemotherapy,
patients treated with NovoTTF achieved comparable survival times,
had fewer side-effects, and reported improved quality of life,"
said Kesari, according to a university statement.
TTFs inhibit tumour growth by causing cancerous cells to die. It
is delivered using non-invasive, insulated transducer arrays
(electrodes) that are placed directly on the skin in the region of
The hat-like collection of electrodes connects to a portable
device which is slightly thicker than a laptop and weighs about
six pounds. The device sends a low intensity, alternating electric
field into the tumour which prevents the cells from dividing and
spreading and causes cancer cells to die.
The most commonly reported side-effect from NovoTTF is a
mild-to-moderate scalp rash, beneath the electrodes. The Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) approved device is intended as an
alternative to standard medical therapy for GBM after surgical and
radiation options have been exhausted.