Researchers found out that there might be a new way to prolongate the lives of brain tumor patients. Tumor treating fields (TT Fields) which is an electromagnetic field in combination with chemotherapy could be the answer to many cancer patients’ prayers.
This new therapy was tested on people suffering of glioblastoma, one of the severest forms of brain cancer. The patients diagnosed with glioblastoma usually die in maximum two years.
This method isn’t the first attempt to try to increase their chances of survival. Over the past decade many experiments have been conducted and unfortunately they all failed.
The new therapy tries to stop the division of the cells by sending electric fields of low intensity to the head. The device that has to be worn in a backpack contains the electrodes that are secured on the patients scalp that has previously been shaved.
For this study 695 of patients with glioblastoma have been selected from around the world, including the United States, Canada, Israel, South Korea and countries from Europe. For 229 patients the treatment included only temozolomide, a drug used in chemotherapy. The other 446 participants were treated with TT Fields and they were also administered temozolomide.
The electromagnetic fields were sent to patients more than 18 hours a day. Temozolomide was administered for five days on each cycle. One cycle lasted for 28 days. The patients had to come for follow-ups after 38 months.
The study concluded that the people who underwent TT Fields therapy cobined with chemotherapy lived longer than those who were only administered temozolomide. But their lives were prolonged only by an average of three months.
The doctors hope that the treatment will be available around the world. They are now trying to understand how exactly TT Fields work and how their efficiency can be improved.
A doctor from the University of Duke, John H. Sampson wants to raise awareness of this therapy, saying that its development must be a priority. Although this therapy is not yet certain, this could be a new way to prolongate the lives of brain tumor patients. The researchers are working on improving it and finding out how it can work at its best.