Here at Geek Tech, we've seen plenty of cool medical robots designed to make our lives easier. Take OctoMag, the tiny blood clot buster, or hacking a Kinect to help the blind "see." This time around, we're looking at a fascinating potential treatment for brain tumors. And it all begins with a small, hat-like contraption.
The NovoTTF-100A is a cap made up of electrodes, attached to a six-pound box. Recently approved by the FDA, the device's electrodes create "a low intensity, alternating electric field" inside a targeted tumor. This field can potentially prevent normal celluar mitosis, slowing growth and potentially killing the cancer cells before they can divide. The cap and box are light and portable (relatively), so patients can go about their everyday lives without much hinderance while being treated.
The NovoTTF-100A has been likened to the chemotherapy stage of combating a brain tumor, with fewer side effects during trials.There are some caveats: it's specifically geared towards combatting glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumors in adults, and can't be used to help fight other types of cancer -- yet.
Despite it's downsides, passing important clinical trials and earning FDA approval does bode well for cancer patients and their families.