Electromagnetic field therapy improves survival in brain cancer patients

January 19, 2018

A JAMA study co-authored by Dr. Garth Nicholas shows that a wearable device that transmits low-intensity electrical fields into the brain can prolong survival in people with a highly aggressive form of brain cancer. The randomized trial included nearly 700 patients around the world. The study confirms the previously published interim results, showing people who received electrical field therapy in addition to chemotherapy survived for 20.9 months compared to 16.0 months for those who received the chemotherapy alone.

Dr. Nicholas, who led the Canadian arm of the trial, told CTV National: “It is not a cure or as dramatic breakthrough that we would like, but it certainly can improve things for selected patients.”

CTV also interviewed a trial participant from The Ottawa Hospital (pictured at left), who said “For a while I was living day to day … and then eventually it went week to week, eventually it went to month to month. For the first time in a long time, I am looking year to year.”

The Ottawa Citizen also covered the story.

The device is not yet available in Canada. People who are interested in experimental therapies for brain cancer should speak with their cancer specialist.

Authors: Stupp R, Taillibert S, Kanner A, Read W, Steinberg DM, Lhermitte B, Toms S, Idbaih A, Ahluwalia MS, Fink K, Di Meco F, Lieberman F, Zhu JJ, Stragliotto G, Tran DD, Brem S, Hottinger AF, Kirson ED, Lavy-Shahaf G, Weinberg U, Kim CY, Paek SH, Nicholas G, Burna J, Hirte H, Weller M, Palti Y, Hegi ME, Ram Z.

Funders: This study was funded by Novocure. Cancer research at The Ottawa Hospital is also possible because of generous support from the community for the hospital.

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