Saturday, November 15, 2014

Electrical Scalp Device Can Slow Progression of Deadly Brain Tumors

NY Times    An electrical device glued to the scalp can slow cancer growth and prolong survival in people with the deadliest type of brain tumor, researchers reported on Saturday.

The device is not a cure and, on average, adds only a few months of life when used along with the standard regimen of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Some doctors have questioned its usefulness. But scientists conducting a new study said the device was the first therapy in a decade to extend life in people with glioblastomas, brain tumors in which median survival is 15 months even with the best treatment. [....]

Patients who wore the device fared better than those who did not: Their median survival was 19.6 months, compared with 16.6 months in those on standard treatment alone. Among those with the device, 43 percent survived two years, compared with 29 percent among those receiving only standard therapy.

“It was a surprise, and better than we would have expected,” Dr. Stupp said in an interview. [...]

Maureen Piekanski, 59, a glioblastoma patient and study participant from Throop, Pa., learned about the device from her daughter, a nurse, who had combed the Internet for glioblastoma studies. [...]

She has been wearing the device since August 2011 — more than three years. Her tumor is gone, and the disease has not returned. She has M.R.I. scans every two months.[...]

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