Scientists say a magnetic helmet was able to reduce the size of a deadly brain tumor by a third.
The helmet generates a magnetic field that progressively shrinks the tumor.
The patient was a 53-year-old man who died as a result of an unrelated injury. An autopsy of his brain, however, revealed that the procedure had removed 31% of the tumor mass in a relatively short period of time.
The trial was the first non-invasive treatment for glioblastoma, a deadly form of brain cancer.
The helmet has three rotating magnets that are linked to a microprocessor-based electronic controller that is powered by a rechargeable battery. The patient wore the device for five weeks at a clinic and then at home with the assistance of his wife as part of the therapy.
The magnetic field therapy was initially administered for two hours and then gradually increased to a maximum of six hours per day. During this time, the patient’s tumor mass and volume shrank by nearly a third, with shrinkage appearing to correlate with treatment dose.
The device’s creators believe it could one day be used to treat brain cancer without the use of radiation or chemotherapy. It has received FDA approval for compassionate use treatment.
“Our results…open a new world of non-invasive and nontoxic therapy…with many exciting possibilities for the future,” said David S. Baskin, corresponding author and director of the Kenneth R. Peak Center for Brain and Pituitary Tumor Treatment in the Department of Neurosurgery at Houston Methodist Neurological Institute.