FDA Panel Backs Device to Treat Brain Tumors

March 18, 2011


According to a WebMD article, an expert panel advised the FDA to approve a new device to treat recurrent glioblastoma, an aggressive, highly fatal type of brain tumor. The NovoTFF-100A System works by zapping tumors with an intermediate-frequency electrical field that's generated by a six-pound battery pack a patient carries in a satchel or backpack. It has been studied for use in patients whose cancer returned after standard treatments such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. The panel voted 12-0 that the device was safe enough for use in a terminally ill population. However, when it came to the question of effectiveness, the panel was deeply divided, with six members voting yes and six voting no. The panel chairman, Penn interventional neuroradiologist Robert W. Hurst, MD, a professor of Radiology, was called to break the tie. He voted yes. The study found that patients survived about as long using NovoTFF as they did with chemotherapy, with significantly fewer side effects. Read More