Optune is a wearable, portable device that creates low-intensity electric waves that slow glioblastoma (GBM) brain tumor cell division for adults aged 22 years or older. It is small and lightweight, weighing less than three pounds. Since it is portable, treatment can be received anywhere, and with a doctor’s approval, can be worn during daily activities such as at work or social events. Optune should be turned on for at least 18 hours per day to give the best treatment response.
For people with newly diagnosed GBM, Optune is used with chemotherapy temozolomide after surgery and radiation. For people with recurrent GBM, Optune is used alone, once surgery and radiation treatments are no longer effective.
How Optune Works
All cells are sensitive to different frequencies. Optune uses Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) which are tuned to a frequency that specifically targets GBM cancer cells. TTFields therapy is delivered right into the area of the brain where the cancer is located without affecting healthy cells. The TTFields interfere with dividing GBM cancer cells to slow down or stop tumor growth, and they may even destroy existing cancer cells.
Optune delivers TTField therapy through four transducer arrays, which are adhesive patches placed on the head. The transducer arrays are connected to an electric field generator through a connection cable and box.
What to Expect
To place the transducer arrays, you will need to shave your scalp closely. After shaving, you will need to wash, sanitize, and dry your scalp. Then you will place the transducer arrays according to the transducer array layout map and trim them if necessary to securely fit them to the scalp and each other.
Optune should be turned on for about 75% of the day, or at least 18 hours, to receive the best treatment response. This means that Optune can be worn while sleeping or during everyday activities and social outings. Transducer Arrays should not get wet, so they should be removed, or a shower cap should be worn over them when bathing. They also need to be kept cool as sweat can cause them to shift and direct sunlight can cause them to overheat. Wearing a hat or using an umbrella for shade are great ways to keep them cool.
Transducer arrays should be changed a least two times per week and should not be worn for more than four days at a time. In addition to the transducer arrays, connection cable and box, and electric field generator, the Optune system is equipped with portable batteries and a charger, a wall power supply, and a messenger bag to carry the electric field generator. Some warming sensations can be expected while using Optune, but most patients get used to it quickly.
Side effects of Optune include:
- Scalp irritation
- Muscle twitching
- Skin ulcers
Benefits of Optune
Optune treats the GBM tumor without increasing chemotherapy-related side effects. It has also provided better quality of life and cognitive and emotional functioning in patients.