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Monday, May 2, 2011

Slowing Brain Cancer with Gadgets? New Treatment Receives FDA Approval | Singularity Hub

Slowing Brain Cancer with Gadgets? New Treatment Receives FDA Approval | Singularity Hub

The NovoTTF (TTF stands for tumor treating fields) is unlike any other treatment currently available for brain tumors. It’s essentially a battery pack that a patient can carry around. The device weighs about 6 pounds and it powers several electrodes that are attached to the patient’s shaved scalp, directly over the area of the tumor. When turned on, the NovoTTF generates a continuous low intensity, intermediate frequency electric field that affects dividing cells. Uncontrollable cell division is one of the characteristics of malignant cancers and most chemotherapeutic agents are also designed to target these cells as opposed to relatively slow growing healthy cells. An article published in the journal PNAS in 2007 details how the NovoTTF works against dividing cells. Suffice it to say that the alternating current generated by the NovoTTF disrupts the normal function of a cell’s electrically charged molecules that are important for cell division. As most normal brain cells don’t undergo constant cell division, the NovoTTF is able to leave them unharmed.
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