The Optune Therapy Cap: How This Electric Skull Cap Kills Cancer Cells [VIDEO]
Clinical trials in brain cancer research that used an electric skull cap in conjunction with chemotherapy treatments showed a marked improvement in patient survival rates. The Optune therapy cap used electrical fields that helped in mitigating the spread of the cancer cells in the brain.
It is known that cancer is the result of abnormal cell growth that can rapidly spread to other parts of the body. This ability of the cancer cells is stopped because the Optune therapy cap sends pulses of low-intensity electric fields and prevents cell division. In the clinical trial, the glioblastoma patients who used the electric skull cap and chemotherapy had averaged a 21-month survival rate versus the 16 months of those who were treated with chemotherapy alone, the Engadget reported.
The downside of this treatment with the electric skull cap is that the patients' heads need to be shaved and they need to wear the Optune therapy cap for at least 18 hours every day. Some side-effects include scalp irritation, feeling weak and some patients complain of feeling some heat on their heads, the Quartz reported.
The treatment was presented over the weekend at the American Association for Cancer Research in Washington, DC. The British study was sponsored by Novocure, the company which makes the device. While it's revolutionary, the treatment is not cheap.
The treatment is expected to cost around $252,000 yearly. Novocure justifies the price tag by citing the 17 years of research and development but they will make the treatment free for patients on Medicaid.
The future of such technology will be very helpful in research on other cancers. The electric fields may be able to slow down or even stop the more aggressive tumors from progressing. The researchers involved in the study also hope to implement a treatment under the same principle but will be in the form of patches.