A recent Medgadget article discussed a new wearable device that shrinks glioblastoma tumors. Glioblastoma is an aggressive type of cancer that occurs in the brain or spinal cord. It is the most common brain malignancy, and is almost always lethal. However, the new device aims to change that. The wearable may look exactly like a novelty beer helmet, but its function couldn’t be more different. Worn daily for treatment, it uses an oscillating magnetic field to disrupt the biochemical processes inside cancer cells.
The non-invasive helmet was developed by researchers at the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute, and though it’s in its infancy, the technique does show promise for shrinking glioblastoma tumors and killing cancer cells. The helmet helps ensure the treatment is localized near the tumor and allows patients to administer the therapy themselves in the comfort of their home.
The first-in-human trial was on a 53 year old glioblastoma patient, who used the device regularly. Unfortunately, the patient died after a month of treatment due to an unrelated injury, but his family agreed to an autopsy so that the researchers could determine the helmet’s efficacy. They found that the helmet had shrunk the tumor by 31%, giving hope to the novel treatment.