An Israeli company called NovoCure debuted its technology to fight brain cancer at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago. The noninvasive device, the Novo TTF, is being tested on patients with the most lethal form of the disease. It works by delivering alternating electrical fields to cancer cells, i.e., disrupting the division of these cells.

June 8, 2010

1 Min Read
Voodoo or Viable Treatment?

Powered by a battery pack that is slightly smaller than a laptop, the device is connected to patients for 20 hours a day. Healthy brain cells aren't affected because they don't divide, according to NovoCure's Eilon Kirson, who heads R&D. Although already approved for use in Europe, the product still has its skeptics.

"I think the technology is interesting, but I think it's totally unproven," said Henry Friedman, a professor of neuro-oncology at Duke University.

Roger Stupp, a researcher involved with the current clinical studies for the device, says that patients using the Novo TTF had much fewer side effects than chemotherapy patients. He also said that when the company first approached him about the device, he thought the idea was "completely voodoo, goofy, nuts."

NovoCure plans to meet soon with FDA to discuss the filing of an application for approval.

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