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Bring electric field therapy, a potential cure for brain cancer, to India

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Every year, one million Indians are diagnosed with Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), one of the most dangerous type of cancer that occur in the brain. It can occur at any age, but tends to occur more often in older adults. It can cause worsening headaches, nausea, vomiting and seizures. 

If untreated, GBM can continue to grow and spread through the brain. This can lead to ongoing functional loss and increasing intracranial pressure. Seizures, personality changes, and unstable moods are common. The median survival time for glioblastoma is 3 months without treatment.

With the standard treatment which is available in India - maximal safe surgical resection, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, median survival for adults with GBM is about 17 months and two-year survival is 30%.

Recently, researchers found that individuals with glioblastoma who were treated with electric field therapy (TTFields) plus chemotherapy lived significantly longer than patients who were treated with chemotherapy alone.The combination of TTFields and chemotherapy also increased the number of months that the patients lived without their disease progressing.

Electric field therapy may slow or stop cancer cells from multiplying and may cause them to die. TTFields are delivered through a wearable, portable, FDA-approved device called Optune.

These were the original findings published by JAMA,

"In the final analysis of this randomized clinical trial of patients with glioblastoma who had received standard radiochemotherapy, the addition of TTFields to maintenance temozolomide chemotherapy vs maintenance temozolomide alone, resulted in statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival and overall survival. These results are consistent with the previous interim analysis."

The results of the trial revealed that patients treated with TTFields plus temozolamide had an overall survival of 20.9 months, compared with those who received temozolomide alone.

This is what American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) has to say: "Currently, a physician must prescribe the TTField device which is available under the brand name Optune."

Patients must wear the device for at least 18 hours a day, taking only short breaks for personal needs, and use the device for at least four weeks.

Here are some independent links which propagate the success of this therapy:

“GBM is a very difficult to treat disease where over 20 large randomized phase 3 studies have failed to show a survival benefit over the past decade. We are proud of the EF-14 final analysis and what it means to patients living with GBM,” said Novocure CEO Asaf Danziger.

The evidence for TTFields is becoming more and more robust as time passes but it is very FRUSTRATING to know that this therapy is not available in India because the company which manufacture this devise doesn't want to launch it here.  Why is it intended for the US audience only?

With all due respect, I am asking the Indian authorities to think about this issue and bring that device in India. Please help us!

Yours sincerely,

Mohd Tabish

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