We need to do better. The National Brain Tumor Society is correct. There have been only 4 new drugs and one device in the past 30 years in the treatment of brain tumors. Compared to the progress seen in breast or prostate cancer, our progress in brain cancer is dismal. Survival rates are low and even benign (slow-growing) tumors eventually come back. Traditional therapy with surgery, radiation, and chemo is not yielding results.
So what’s new? There are several new treatments that are showing promise. The most beneficial appears to be the application of tumor-treating fields (TTF). TTF is a completely new approach in cancer treatment. The FDA approved the TTF device Optune® in 2015 for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). You can learn more about Optune here.
I have many patients using Optune successfully and Erlanger has the only certified Optune prescribers in our region.
Another exciting area of research from brain tumors is immunotherapy. Here at Erlanger, we currently have a study examining the use of the drug nivolumab in the treatment of GBM. This trial is actively enrolling patients who meet study criteria.
The most important step is ensuring you are seen by a specialty-trained physician who can provide the latest treatment in a compassionate manner.
Patient-focused treatment, and an individualized approach to oncology means Dr. Norleena Gullett is not just treating cancer, she's treating the whole person.