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Health: Cap Tested Locally For Deadly Brain Cancer

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)-- About half of the patients diagnosed with the most common form of brain cancer die within 15 months.  That could be changing with a new device that's helping patients live longer.

Doug Lawrence is getting outfitted with a strange looking head contraption that he hopes buys him some extra time.  He was recently diagnosed with the deadliest form of brain cancer known as Gliobastoma, and given just months to live.

"You just get up and march ahead.  That's how you, you don't have any choice on that," said Doug.

Traditional treatments for Glioblastoma, like surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, aren't very successful.

This new device called the Novo-Cure Cap sends electric signals to the cancerous area in the brain, stopping cells from dividing.

"For cancer cells that's the very important because they have to divide in order to grow," said Dr. Thomas Chen, a Neurosurgeon.

Doug carries a portable power source in a backpack, and must wear the cap around the clock.

About 250 newly diagnosed brain cancer patients have tested the device in combination with a cancer drug.  The cap spares patients the side effects of chemotherapy, but it can irritate the scalp.

Previous studies have shown the cap may extend a patient's life a few months.

"I guess it all boils down to your wife, your kids, and God," said Doug.

So far, the FDA has only approved the device for patients who have had recurrent cases of Glioblastoma.  The cap is being tested locally, at Penn Medicine.  For more information call 215-662-6462.

For Brain Cancer Study Information, click here.

Penn Medicine Neurosurgery-

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