Zapping Lung Cancer at Home
ATLANTA, Ga. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Thirteen percent of all cancer diagnosis are lung cancer – in fact, more than 200,000 people a year are diagnosed with it and despite medical advancements, it’s still one of the deadliest cancers. Now, doctors are not only battling this disease at the hospital, but taking the fight right into the patient’s own home.
Lung cancer — it can literally take your breath away. Despite chemo, radiation, and immunotherapy, it is still one of the hardest cancers to treat.
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University oncologist, Ticiana Leal, MD explains, “Within lung cancer diagnosis about 60 percent of the people are diagnosed with advanced disease. Eighty-five percent of patients have non-small cell lung cancer, which is the most common type.”
Dr. Leal is leading the lunar trial — a phase three clinical trial for stage four non-small cell lung cancer patients. It uses an at-home wearable device to zap cancer cells. It’s called Tumor Treating Fields Therapy.
“Tumor Treating Fields are electric fields that exert physical forces on electrically charged components of cells,” Dr. Leal further explains.
Tumor Treating Field Therapy is already being used for glioblastomas and mesothelioma. For lung cancer, it uses low-intensity electrical fields delivered through this wearable device.
Dr. Leal adds, “Patients wear two pairs of arrays.”
The arrays transmit mild electric fields, disrupting cell division and preventing the growth of cancer cells. The arrays are worn for 18 hours a day.
“That means that patients are wearing at home, but they’re also taking it with them wherever they go,” Dr. Leal says.
Researchers found that combining the fields therapy with immunotherapy resulted in an eight-month improvement in overall survival.
“I think this is a, potentially, paradigm shift in how we treat lung cancer,” Dr. Leal expresses.
The most common side effect seems to be dermatitis, or a rash. The treatment has not yet been approved by the FDA. They hope that will happen in the coming year. Researchers are also looking at using tumor treating field therapy to fight liver and pancreatic cancers.
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