Using Electric Fields To Treat Cancer

Today doctors treat cancer using a combination of radiation, chemotherapy and surgery but soon we may be able to treat cancer using electric fields. In this TEDMed talk Bill Doyle presents a new approach to cancer therapy using Tumor Treating Fields, capable of destroying cancer cells while leaving normal healthy cells intact. Developed by Novocure the treatment allows patients the ability to receive treatment while maintaining an active lifestyle. Recently the FDA approved a Novocure device in the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme or (GBM) a common and highly aggressive form of brain cancer. According to the FDA overview the Novocure device; “is a portable battery or power-supply operated device which produces changing electrical fields, called tumor treatment fields (“TTFields”) within the human body. TTFields are applied to the head of the patient by electrically-insulated surface electrodes. TTFields stop the growth of tumor cells resulting in cell death of the rapidly dividing cancer cells. The geometrical shape and scattering of the electrical charges within the dividing tumor cells allows TTF electrical fields to physically break up the tumor cell membrane. The frequency of the TTFields used for a particular treatment is specific to the size of the cell type being treated. ” (FDA)  The research although different is somewhat similar to the pioneering work of a little known American inventor from the 1930’s named Royal Raymond Rife. It will be interesting to watch this technology as it is further developed and possibly used to treat other aggressive forms of cancer.

Read More:

FDA Approval Letter for the NovoTTF-100A

Tumor treating fields: concept, evidence and future.

Alternating electric fields arrest cell proliferation in animal tumor models and human brain tumors.

Chemotherapeutic treatment efficacy and sensitivity are increased by adjuvant alternating electric fields (TTFields).

TTFields alone and in combination with chemotherapeutic agents effectively reduce the viability of MDR cell sub-lines that over-express ABC transporters.

A prospective, randomized, open-label, phase III clinical trial of NovoTTF-100A versus best standard of care chemotherapy in patients with recurrent glioblastoma.