Saturday, December 27, 2014

Progress with a certain degree of ickiness

Would you walk around with wires sticking out of the top of your head which is covered in bandages? I am not as concerned about how I look but the idea of wires sticking out of my head. And you have to change the transducers every three or four days. Hence the ick factor.

Glioblastomas are nasty brain tumors, the type that killed Senator Ted Kennedy. They are not easily treatable. These new devices use electromagnetic fields to control the tumor cells.

"The sophisticated system involves covering a shaved scalp with insulated electrical transducers, which transform electricity into electromagnetic energy. The transducer devices are affixed to the skin with wide overlapping bandages, giving the appearance of a high-tech shower cap. 

Electromagnetic fields — generated from electricity produced via a 6-pound battery pack that patients carry on their backs — pass through the skull and brain tissue, and target rapidly reproducing tumor cells, disrupting their delicate process of cell division.

The electromagnetic fields don’t damage the brain’s healthy neurons and anatomical structures because those structures are not undergoing cell division. The fields exert force on proteins — which become electrically charged when the tumor cell is in the process of dividing — and that halts the cell division and destroys the cancer cells."

So you have to carry around a six pound battery pack. That alone would slow me down with my bad back. The other problem is it costs, brace yourself, $21,000 each month. And currently Medicare and many insurers won't pay for it.

However the manufacturer expects, but is not guaranteed, FDA approval in the next year or so. But there is no guarantee of any insurance coverage in the future. To me there is the ick factor and the idea of big brother watching what you are thinking through your brain cells...

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