Scientists recently discovered a new approach, specifically a magnetic helmet that uses an oscillating magnetic field to shrink the brain tumor.
A ScienceAlert report stated that glioblastoma, a fortunately unusual form of tumor, is growing rapidly, not to mention aggressively on the brain or the brain stem. Unfortunately, though, this condition is not curable and is nearly always fatal.
And for treatments for such a condition, this same report specified that glioblastoma is difficult to treat as it requires intensive radio and chemotherapy that, more often than not, patients fail to complete.
The magnetic helmet was recently tested on a 53-year-old- glioblastoma patient, whose cancer showed an astounding 31-percent reduction in size in just a short period before the patient regrettably died from an unrelated traumatic injury.
Efficacy of 1st Non-invasive Therapy
Houston Methodist Hospital neurosurgeon David Baskin commended his patient's courage, as well as his family's that they were able to test and validate this first non-invasive therapy's potential efficacy for glioblastoma.
The family's willingness to allow an autopsy after the untimely death of their loved one resulted in a priceless contribution to the additional study and development of this possibly powerful treatment.
The magnetic helmet is mounted with three sturdy fixed magnets that produce an oscillating magnetic field. Through the use of this technology, the study authors were able to decrease the volume and mass of glioblastoma in cell cultures. They were also able to reduce human glioblastoma cells spliced in mice in laboratory background.
In their study, "Case Report: End-Stage Recurrent Glioblastoma Treated With a New Noninvasive Non-Contact Oncomagnetic Device," published in Frontiers in Oncology, the researchers found that the magnetic field is disrupting electron transport in the series of reactions that the mitochondria are using for the production of chemical energy that is powering the human cells.
Nevertheless, this disruption only takes place in the existence of some metabolism-enhancing compounds generated by tumor cells. Meaning, the disrupted glioblastoma cells are dying out while healthy cells stay intact.
The First to Try the Magnetic Helmet
As reported in ScienceAlert, the patient had gone to the doctor in 2018 for changed mental status, which resulted in the discovery of a large tumor that had spread through both frontal lobes and penetrated the 'bridge' known as corpus callosum in-between.
That same year, he went through an operation for the excision of his glioblastoma. Regrettably, the tumor returned and developed, and it continued getting bigger despite aggressive treatment.
As traditional treatments were not adequate to meet his medical needs, the patient was approved for the testing of the magnetic helmet.
In a similar report, Vale News said that in April last year, after the 53-year-old patient signed informed consent documents, the treatment through the helmet started.
For three days, he went through the treatment in a clinic while his wife was going through training on the proper care and use of the magnetic helmet. Following the surgery, the patient continued with home treatment, beginning with a two-hour session every day. Then, sessions increased to six hours each day.
The treatment, in general, lasted for 36 days. The researchers said that during this time, the glioblastoma reportedly reduced by 31%, and the man's caregivers reported that he had improved in both speech and cognitive function.
Thirty-six days after, the treatment had to stop because the patient fell and got his head injured. As mentioned earlier, regrettably, he died not long after.
A Tragic Yet Encouraging Story
The story of this first patient to try the magnetic helmet may have been considered a tragic one, and the case study focuses on just one patient, but the initial results are encouraging.
The reduction in the tumor is consistent with the past observations on cell cultures and what was described in the study as 'xenografted mice.' More so, it presented a quick decrease where the typical cancer treatments were unsuccessful in halting the growth of the tumor.
If the efficacy of the magnetic helmet can be demonstrated on other humans, it may provide a much gentler treatment option for a single or more dreadful cancer form.
Related information about brain tumors is shown on John Hopkins Medicines YouTube video below:
Check out more news and information on Brain in Science Times.