An innovative new treatment may be able to help people with difficult to treat brain tumors. The co-director of the tumor center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dr. Eric Wong is a huge supporter of a scalp device, called Optune, that uses electromagnetic fields to treat brain tumors.
The device resembles a shower cap: insulated electrical transducers are adhered to a shaved scalp with wide bandages. The electromagnetic fields interrupt division in tumor cells. Unlike other cancer treatments, Optune won’t damage the brain or other anatomical structures because they are not going through the same cell division, and other than a mild skin irritation, there are no side effects.
Wong went to numerous hospitals proposing to do research on Optune’s effects on brain tumors and his hardworking paid off. Hopeful results were produced from trials with the first patients. Patients were randomly assigned use of the device in addition to standard treatments lived longer than those only assigned to chemotherapy and radiation.
The US Food and Drug Administration has allowed all the patients in the study to use Optune. One patient says he plans to continue using the device as a means to hopefully prevent recurrence.Even skeptics are impressed by the results of the initial trials: “It increased overall survival by about three months. That’s not a huge amount of time, but it’s not trivial for our patients,” said Patrick Wen, who months earlier denied Wong’s research proposal for Optune.
The company that makes Optune, Novocure, say they expect FDA approval within the next year. It will serve as a first-line treatment for thousands of newly diagnosed US patients. The Portsmouth based company plans to test the device on other cancers as well, like lung and pancreatic.
While Optune could be a fantastic opportunity for cancer patients, the cost is a staggering $21,000 a month. A bill that’s not covered by some insurers, including medicaid. Fifth Season Financial believes that financial restrains shouldn’t keep you from the right treatment. We can help with our cancer loans for advanced cancer patients. We know all the struggles that a cancer diagnosis can bring, but financial burden shouldn’t be one of them.
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