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New device ‘extends survival’ for glioblastoma patients, trial finds

A battery-powered cap that disrupts the growth of brain tumour cells could help glioblastoma patients to survive for longer, new findings suggest.

In a trial involving 695 people diagnosed with glioblastoma, those who were fitted with the device and had the chemotherapy drug temozolomide survived for almost five months longer on average than those who only had temozolomide.

Known as Optune, the cap uses changing electrical fields or Tumour Treating Fields (TTFields) to halt brain tumour growth. It must be worn for 18 hours a day and users carry a battery with them to power the device.

The initial results of the Optune trial were published by its developers, Novocure, last year. The company presented the final figures at the recent Society for NeuroOncology annual meeting in the US.

David Jenkinson, Chief Scientific Officer for The Brain Tumour Charity, said, “The patients who used Optune survived for 20.8 months on average – almost five months longer than those who didn’t have the device.

“The trial also showed that a patient’s chance of living for at least four years after a glioblastoma diagnosis increased by 70% if they used the Optune cap.

“Whilst the trial wasn’t perfect, this is a welcome advance for a group of patients who have few options and a very poor outlook.

“We look forward to seeing the future developments of Optune. We will be urging both Novocure and the regulatory authorities to make sure it is available to NHS patients at an affordable price.”