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Novocure's Optune: A big hope for patients with recurrent glioblastoma

Glioblastomas (GBM) are tumors that arise from astrocytes—the star-shaped cells that make up the “glue-like,” or supportive tissue of the brain. These tumors are usually highly malignant (cancerous) because the cells reproduce quickly and they are supported by a large network of blood vessels  Approximately 10,000 patients diagnosed each year in the US and approximately 1,600 patients diagnosed each year in Japan.

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has approved Novocure's Optune, a Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) delivery device, as therapy for  patients with recurrent glioblastoma (GBM).  Novocure is a private oncology company pioneering a novel therapy for solid tumors called Tumor Treating Fields. An important milestone in the field of oncology therapy has been reached. Since the patient was suffering from this disease, the hope was to stop the disease progression by introducing Optune as a new standard of care.

Optune is a portable,  noninvasive regional therapy that targets dividing cancer cells in the brain and generally does not harm healthy cells. It is a unique new form of treatment for brain tumors: it uses Tumor Treating Fields (TTF) to kill dividing cells. These fields are delivered by removable transducer arrays that are placed on the head. Optune has received marketing approval in the United States (US) and Japan for use in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiformeand is a CE Marked device approved for sale in the European Union, Switzerland, Australia and Israel.

Shungo Matori, general manager Japan and representative director of Novocure K.K  said “We are thankful for the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency’s (PMDA) rapid and diligent review of our submission and for approval of Optune in Japan. And also wish to continue  our work with them”

“This technology is really beneficial to Japanese patients and this will improve their quality of life” said by Masao Matsutani, honorary member of the Japanese Society of Neuro-Oncology and Professor Emeritus Saitama Medical University.

Optune is a novel antimitotic therapy approved by the United States (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration (FDA)for the treatment of adult patients (22 years of age or older) with recurrent glioblastoma (GBM). Patients should only use Optune under the supervision of a physician properly trained in use of the device.

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