All cancers are nasty, but some forms are more nastier than others. Consider glioblastoma, a fortunately rare form of tumor: it grows rapidly and aggressively in the brain or brain stem, is incurable, and is almost always fatal.
It’s also difficult to treat and requires intense radio & chemotherapy that patients often can’t complete, but scientists may have just found a new method: a non-invasive cap that uses an oscillating magnetic field to shrink the tumor.
The device was recently tested on a 53-year-old glioblastoma patient whose tumor showed a remarkable 31% reduction in size within a short period of time before the patient sadly died of un-related traumatic head injury.
“Thanks to the courage of this patient and his family, we were able to test and verify the potential effectiveness of the world’s first non-invasive therapy for glioblastoma,” said neurosurgeon David S. Baskin of the Houston Methodist Hospital.
“The generous agreement of the family to allow an autopsy after the untimely death of their loved ones has been invaluable to further research and development of this potentially effective therapy.
The helmet is attached with three strong rotating permanent magnets that generate an oscillating magnetic field. Using this technology, the researchers were able to reduce the volume and mass of glioblastomas in cell cultures and human glioblastoma cells that were transplanted into mice (xenografts) in the laboratory.
The magnetic field, the researchers found, disrupts the transport of electrons in a series of reactions that mitochondria use to produce the chemical energy that powers our cells; however, this disorder occurs only in the presence of certain metabolism-increasing compounds that are produced by tumor cells, that means disrupted. Glioblastoma cells die, while healthy cells remain intact.
The patient had consulted a doctor in May 2018 because of “altered mental status”, which led to the discovery of a large tumor that had spread over both frontal lobes and infiltrated the”bridge” of the corpus callosum between them.
In June of the same year he underwent an operation to remove the glioblastoma; Unfortunately, the tumor grew back and continued to grow despite aggressive treatment. Since the traditional treatments were no longer sufficient for his needs, he was allowed to test the magnetic helmet.
After signing the informed consent-agreement in April 2020, treatment began, the patient was treated in a clinic for three days while his spouse was trained in the care and use of the helmet, after which treatment continued at home. Starting with sessions of two hours per day up to six hours by increasing the time. The treatment was continued for a total of 36 days. During that time, glioblastoma was reduced by 31 percent, the researchers said, and the patient’s caregivers reported improvements in speech, & cognitive function.
The treatment had to be discontinued after 36 days because the patient fell and injured his head. Unfortunately, he died shortly afterwards.
Although the story has a tragic ending and this case study involves a single patient, these preliminary results are encouraging. Tumor shrinkage is consistent with previous observations in cell culture and xenograft mice, showing rapid shrinkage where standard cancer treatments had failed. to Stop growth.
If the helmet’s effectiveness can be proven in other human patients, it may offer a much gentler treatment option for one of the most terrifying types of cancer.
“Imagine treating brain cancer without radiation therapy or chemotherapy,” said Baskin.
“Our results in the laboratory and with this patient open up a new world of non-invasive and non-toxic therapy for brain tumors with many exciting possibilities for the future.
The research has been published in Frontiers in Oncology.