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Mission Innovation: A Novel Medical Device for Glioblastoma

Health Canada recently approved Optune® for the treatment of newly diagnosed and recurrent glioblastoma (GBM), the first treatment for GBM to be approved in Canada in over 12 years.

GBM is one of the most common and aggressive forms of brain cancer. Each year, 1,600 people in Canada are diagnosed with GBM. The standard of care treatment includes surgical removal of as much of the tumor as possible, followed by concurrent chemotherapy using temozolomide (TMZ) and radiation therapy. Patients are then usually treated with adjuvant maintenance TMZ. However, even with treatment, there is a high rate of recurrence and survival ranges from 1.5 to 2 years.

Optune® is a wearable and portable medical device that works by delivering electric fields, also known as Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) that disrupt cancer cell division. In the pivotal EF-14 trial, results showed a significant increase in overall survival (6.7 vs. 4.0 months) and progression free survival (20.9 vs. 16.0 months) in the TTFields plus maintenance TMZ group compared to the maintenance TMZ alone group.

Although not all patients will be eligible given the complex nature of the disease and device, the approval of a new and promising treatment in the GBM space provides some patients with new hope.

-Tiffany Song


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