Top Line: While glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) commands fear in the oncologist tasked with its management, it also invigorates the imagination.
The Study: Few cancers have seen as many creative treatment strategies enter the scene in the past decade, from electric fields to oncolytic viruses in the form of zika or polio. Today we bring you a treatment strategy using none other than magnets. As opposed to Optune’s alternating electric fields that purportedly disrupt microtubule formation, Oncomagnet claims to disrupt electron transport in the mitochondria to drive up tumor-lethal reactive oxygen species. While that’s all fine and dandy, how can patients distinguish between the two magic hats? The creators of Oncomagnet would like to emphasize: no shaved head, no problem. Instead, patients wear a helmet with three large oscillating magnets (or, “oncoscillators”...no, really, that’s what they’re called) that create a triangle around the skull and are plugged into a rechargeable battery about the size of a large camera that must be carried. This device is intended to be worn for three 2-hour sessions daily with 1-hour breaks between sessions. In this case report of the first human to be treated with Oncomagnet for a refractory left frontal GBM, he ended up wearing the device more like 2-3 hours per day for 36 days, sometimes more and sometimes not at all, largely due to patient preference. Nonetheless, MRI demonstrated a 31% reduction in enhancing tumor by day 30, with a higher reduction rate over in the first week when wearing the device as initially directed. Unfortunately, the patient died after day 36 due to an “unrelated closed head injury” so further trends are not available. Using what information they have, the authors would like to compare this to a 15% tumor reduction over 3 months as typically seen with Optune.
TBL: With an “n” of 1, there’s an exciting new medical device using magnetic fields being investigated for the treatment of refractory GBM. | Baskin, Front Oncol 2021