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Put a cap on tumor growth

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Posted: Friday, December 28, 2012 4:00 pm | Updated: 4:42 pm, Wed Jul 3, 2013.

Massive headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness are the signs of a brain tumor.

Each year, 41000 people are told they have one. Now, a new device is helping put a cap on tumor growth.

Beach volleyball, surfing, skiing…Reggie Chan does it all. In fact, until a year ago, Reggie would ride his bike 15 miles to work and 15 miles back, but now riding his new trike is getting harder and harder. "I woke up and felt my left foot was kind of still asleep."

Affects of a deadly brain tumor called Glioblastoma and it all started with a headache. "Right then and there I knew our lives were changed forever."

Most patients only live a year after diagnosis. "The tumor sort of infiltrates a healthy brain and that's why it's so difficult to remove completely," says Maciej M. Mrugala, MD, PhD Neurosurgeon University of Washington Medical Center.

Doctors at the University of Washington are some of the first to use this FDA approved cap called TT-Fields to help kill the cancer.

A battery pack fuels the electrodes. At the right intensity, the electricity stops the cancer cells from growing, even killing them. On the left is a scan of a tumor before the cap-on the right, after. Reggie has been wearing the cap all day long, every day for the past four weeks. "Actually it's working, the tumor has shrunk again."

Hopefully it will continue to shrink.

Even though the electrical fields can shrink tumors, they don't hurt healthy cells and early studies show there's no other serious side effects.

Right now TTF therapy is only being used for patients who's tumors have re-grown, but clinical trials are beginning for newly diagnosed patients

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