Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bill Doyle - NovoCure's Tumor Treating Fields

Here's an interesting clip from TEDTalks describing a new treatment for brain and trunk cancers that has just completed clinical trials.  In trials, GBM4 patients whose cancer had recurred after they'd received surgery, radiation and chemo wore this device instead of taking another round of traditional treatment.  While it did not extend their life expectancy beyond that of the control group, it kept them alive just as well but without any side effects.  No nausea, no fatigue, no chemo fog... just a silly robot hat.  A small price to pay. 

Bill Doyle cites one patient (whose results appear to be atypical), who was given three months to live.  Within one year of using TTF treatment, he no longer showed any enhancement on his MRI.  Five years after starting his treatment, he's still alive, without side-effects and well enough to go to work. 

From what I understand, the treatment involves wearing a device over the afflicted region.  It is totally non-invasive, and uses an electrical field to suppress cell reproduction.  Even though it's been proven to work on its own, Doyle says studies are ongoing on how to best use it in conjunction with other treatments.  Rather than replace chemotherapy and radiation, it could dramatically improve their effectiveness. 

These are some exciting times, my friends. 

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