Optune: FDA-Approved Wearable for Innovative Treatment of Glioblastoma

Optune delivers Tumor Treating Fields to slow down or stop glioblastoma cancer cells from dividing.

Image: Optune

Optune, a wearable device from Novocure delivers Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) to slow down or stop glioblastoma cancer cells from dividing, and destroys the cancer without disrupting healthy, resting cells.

Glioblastoma is the most aggressive cancer that begins within the brain. Glioblastoma can occur at any age, but tends to occur more often in older adults. It can cause worsening headaches, nausea, vomiting and seizures.

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Optune® is intended as a treatment for adult patients (22 years or older) with histologically-confirmed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

Here’s How Optune Works

  • GBM tumor cells divide quickly, creating more and more cells that form a mass, or tumor
  • When Optune is turned on, it creates low-intensity, wave-like electric fields call Tumor Treating Fields, or TTFields. These TTFields are delivered by transducer arrays to the location of a GBM tumor
  • TTFields interfere with GBM tumor cell division. This action slows or stops GBM cells from dividing, and may destroy them

Clinical Study

A large clinical study showed that people who added Optune to chemotherapy had a greater chance of living longer than those who used chemotherapy alone.

Participants in the study were also able to maintain their mental, emotional, and physical well-being longer than those on chemotherapy alone.

Nearly half of people on Optune plus chemotherapy were alive at 2 years compared with 31% of people on chemotherapy alone, reports optune.

Getting Used to Optune

Although it may take some time to get used to wearing Optune, head shaving and applying the transducer arrays will soon become part of your daily routine.

Continuous treatment with Optune can be received almost anywhere. With the doctor’s approval, you can use Optune while you go about your daily routine at work, while traveling, and at social functions. Your nCompass team at Novocure can work with you to provide ongoing support, such as additional batteries, that can make using Optune at your office or while traveling possible.

Optune is small and lightweight weighing just 2.7 pounds (Image: Optune)

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Optune is Not for Everyone

Talk to your doctor if you have:

  • An implanted medical device (programmable shunt), skull defect (missing bone with no replacement), or bullet fragment. Optune has not been tested in people with implanted electronic devices, which may cause the devices not to work properly, and Optune has not been tested in people with skull defects or bullet fragments, which may cause Optune not to work properly
  • A known sensitivity to conductive hydrogels (the gel on the arrays placed on the scalp like the ones used on EKGs). When Optune comes into contact with the skin, it may cause more redness and itching or may rarely cause a life-threatening allergic reaction

Do not use Optune if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant. It is not known if Optune is safe or effective during pregnancy.

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Sam Draper
May 16, 2019

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