(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a first of its kind device for treating a rare type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). GBM is an aggressive cancer that comes back after receiving radiation therapy and chemotherapy. People with GBM usually only live for a few months.
The device, called the NovoTTF-100A, fights cancerous brain tumors using electrical energy fields. Those electric fields are used to hault the dispersing of cancer cells that allow tumors to grow.
The device is portable and, like a hat, surrounds the patient's head and feeds the signals to the brain through four electrodes. The device is charged by electrical outlet or can be used with batteries.
A 237 person clinical trial showed that although those using the device were as likely to die as those receiving chemotherapy, side effects such as nausea and fatigue were not as likely.
The NovoTTF-100A is not intended to be used in combination with other cancer treatment. The device should only be used after other treatments have failed.
The NovoTTF-100A System is made by Novocure of Portsmouth, N.H.
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