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First Patient Tries Out New Mesothelioma Treatment

The first patient is beginning treatment of NovoTTF-100L, a device recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that was developed by Dr. Jacques Fontaine, a thoracic surgeon at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida.

Fontaine joined with others in a national mesothelioma advisory group that helped develop the novel mesothelioma treatment device. The long form name of the device is Novocure’s Novo Tumor Treating Fields system 100L.

The device uses a low-voltage electric field through three pads that are attached to the front and back of a patient’s chest. The electrical current disrupts the inner components of a divided cancer cell.

The first patient to use the device will wear it for 18 hours a day. His doctor says that they are expecting 97% disease control at the end of the first year of treatment when combined with chemotherapy, representing the ability to stabilize the disease and provide a better response to treatment than other methods.

During trial testing, side effects were minimal on the 90 patients who tried the device. The median survival of the patients in the trial was a year and a half.

The former chief resident in thoracic surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital – Harvard Medical School jointed the Moffitt Center in 2011. He has an interest in mesothelioma and is perfectly situated to explore treatment options of this deadly disease since Florida ranks second in the nation for the number of mesothelioma deaths.

Dr. Fontaine reports that the treatment is different from other traditional forms of treating mesothelioma, including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation or surgery. It is a noninvasive electric therapy treatment that does not require any incision or insertion of any medical device or instrument into the body. It has been approved as a first-line treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma.

The FDA approved the use of the device in May 2019 for the treatment of mesothelioma. This approval was the first treatment option for mesothelioma that the administration approved in more than 15 years.

Tumor Treating Fields have been used for several years to treat brain tumors. It is currently being tested for treatment of small-cell lung cancer, ovarian cancer and pancreatic cancer.

The device uses a low-voltage electric field through three pads that are attached to the front and back of a patient’s chest. The electrical current disrupts the inner components of a divided cancer cell.

The first patient to use the device will wear it for 18 hours a day. His doctor says that they are expecting 97% disease control at the end of the first year of treatment when combined with chemotherapy, representing the ability to stabilize the disease and provide a better response to treatment than other methods.

During trial testing, side effects were minimal on the 90 patients who tried the device. The median survival of the patients in the trial was a year and a half.

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