New approach to glioblastoma treatment in Israel
- 19 November
- Diagnosis & Treatment
A unique electrical helmet that stops brain cancer with electromagnetic fields can soon revolutionize glioblastoma treatment in Israel.
“Thinking outside the box” - this metaphor can briefly describe new approach of Israeli scientists to glioblastoma multiforme treatment, which is one of the most aggressive brain cancer types.
For many decades, there was no truly effective method of treating this cancer. Last time, Israeli regulators approved new chemotherapy for GBM 15 years ago, but it was almost ineffective.
This sounds like a dream, but the first patients with electrical helmets are already taking advantage of the innovative glioblastoma treatment in Israel.
Electromagnetic fields halt the growth of glioblastomaGlioblastoma is the most common and aggressive primary brain cancer. Every year 200 cases of the disease are diagnosed in Israel, and 200 patients die. The average life expectancy after a successful surgery in combination with chemotherapy and radiation therapy is only 70 weeks.
In most patients, the tumor returns after treatment. In such cases, second surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy may be used. Sometimes patients are offered experimental methods.
According to experts, further treatment is ineffective after recurrence of glioblastoma multiforme. Such patients receive palliative care, which reduces theis suffering in the last months of life.
Despite numerous studies, scientists cannot offer effective drugs for patients with recurrent GBM.
No treatment option prolongs their life for more than a couple of months. Medicine is powerless. But recently, Israeli professor of physiology and biophysics Yoram Palti developed a device that effectively halt the growth of malignant cells using electromagnetic fields.
The idea is to manipulate the electrical charge of organic molecules in the patient's body. The electrical converters put on the head inside a cap direct the fields in such a way that division of glioblastoma multiforme cells is disturbed. In the key phase of the cell cycle, they die.
Glioblastoma treatment in Israel significantly improvedData on the effectiveness of new technology, which were presented at international conferences in the United States, attracted the interest of specialists in the field of neuro-oncology.
Scientists have demonstrated that the five-year survival of patients with glioblastoma multiforme increased to almost 30%. It is enough to use an electric helmet 90% of time to achieve this result. Research show a significant improvement in all groups that receive a new therapy.
For comparison: the five-year survival for GBM with standard treatment (chemotherapy, radiation therapy) is only 5%. To date, the average life expectancy of these patients was only 15-16 months.
Professor Tali Siegal, an expert in neuro-oncology from Rabin Medical Center, recognizes the new technology as a breakthrough. According to professor, the results of first tests of the helmet raised a discussion in medical community. At first they were considered too good to be true.
Today, there is no brain cancer therapy anywhere in the world that uses electromagnetic fields outside the tumor.
Moreover, outside the patient's skull.
However, the conducted studies meet the most stringent standards, and that is why innovative technology can enter into international treatment protocols for glioblastoma multiforme. According to scientific director of Novocor, new treatment does not affect the electrical activity of the brain, thinking and memory. No serious adverse events were observed.
In glioblastoma cell growth, there is a replication phase, at the end of which the cell takes the form of an hourglass, and then the two parts are disconnected from each other. Electromagnetic fields do not allow them to disconnect, changing the direction of movement of molecules.
This explains the main disadvantage of new approach. To maximize treatment results, patients should wear their helmet 24/7. There are patients who do not like this protocol. People just don’t want to go out with the announcement “I have a brain tumor”. Therefore, the promising procedure is interrupted.
An annual course of glioblastoma treatment in Israel using electromagnetic fields will cost about 700,000 shekels ($190,000). However, the procedure is offered to local patients at a reduced price – only 200,000 shekels ($54,000). Now experimental technology is available for free.