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Thread: Tumor Treating Fields - treating cancer with alternating electric fields?

  1. #1 Tumor Treating Fields - treating cancer with alternating electric fields? 
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    Jul 2008
    I've just found on TED lecture about treating cancer with electric field ??? ... first thought is some kind of magical magnetizers or cellphones causing cancer ... but the lecture occurred to look quite impressive: Bill Doyle: Treating cancer with electric fields | Video on
    The explanation is that the proper alternating electric field (about 100 kHz) disturbs cell division: lining up chromosomes at the metaphase plate to divide the genetic material while mitosis.
    Generally many approaches target cell division, which is much more common in cancer cells - if we could limit it selectively/locally, immune system would have more time to fight with cancer.

    In the lecture there is for example looking convincing movie of cell division with and without the field and interviews with patients claimed to be cured by this approach.
    Here is another lecture with more materials about cell division in such field:
    Here is PNAS article (free): Alternating electric fields arrest cell proliferation in animal tumor models and human brain tumors
    In Nature Reviews Neurology:
    Comment in Science: Can an Electric Hat Fight Tumors? - ScienceNOW
    Here is their website:

    What do you think about it?
    What influence may have EM field on living organisms?
    Most of biology is pure thermodynamics - the natural effectof EM wave is just increasing temperature by absorption ... but maybe it could indeed also disturb construction of spatial structures in fluid cytoplasm, like tangling micro-tubules tieing chromosomes to centrioles?

    Last edited by Jarek Duda; February 6th, 2012 at 12:00 PM.
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  3. #2  
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    Feb 2012
    fascinating - this makes perfect sense with DNA being a largely electronegative molecule. it wouldn't just effect neoplastic tissue but you could localise it to a tumour site much easier than cytotoxic drugs.

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  4. #3  
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    Jul 2008
    turen, they explain that what they use is polarity of microtubule subunit - here is short movie (but I think it's much too simplified explanation): Novocure - Overview
    And this therapy is not well localized - it disturbs cell division over area ... but fortunately different divisions like neurogenesis is relatively rare phenomena. It's essential that immune system divisions should be practically unaffected, so the body gets time to get rid of tumor.

    About localized scalpel-less brain treatment, I've just found on TED another recent claimed to be used amazing technique - focusing ultrasound in a spot e.g. inside skull: Yoav Medan: Ultrasound surgery -- healing without cuts | Video on

    Asking an oncologist what are the options, you would probably hear scalpel, radio and chemo ... but we see it is no longer complete list - let us extend this topic and gather and discuss here more different approaches.
    Beside mentioned two, there are for example:
    - photodynamic therapy in which we have double control of selection - both like in chemo to chemically localize in e.g. quickly dividing cells and like in radio by shinnig locally, but this time using infrared (smaller range, but can also be used endoscopically),
    - particle therapy - accelerated e.g. proton/carbon/antiproton deposit most of energy in Bragg peak - chosen to be in the tumor some distance under the skin,
    - elektrochemiotherapy - locally applied electric impulses make it easier to transport chemistry into the cells there,
    - metallic nanoparticles heated up by focused electromagnetic waves ( Anti-Cancer Therapy Heats Up - From The Lab Bench Blog | Nature Publishing Group ),
    - ... ?
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