I’m Wired with NovoTTF-100A

Yesterday I was fitted with the NovoTTF-100A device from the company NovoCure.

I was also Chicago Midway airport’s biggest security scare of the day! Actually the TSA agents were courteous and professional even though it was clear they were not familiar with the device. I did not mention that this technology was developed in Israel.

You may be able to see in the headshot that quarter-sized ceramic disks are hooked to wires and taped to my head. They do heat up a little bit but it’s not bad. Having had the arrays strapped to my head for about 24 hours, I just kind of feel like I want to take my hat off, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.

The arrays remain strapped to my head all the time up until they need changing which could be every three to four days depending on factors like hair growth and sweat interfering with making a good connection.

Then we travel to Chicago every month to monitor progress via MRI.

This is a monotherapy (not intended to be used in conjunction with chemo). It is NOT a trial. It is FDA approved. After the standard of care Slash and Burn tactics (i.e., surgery and radiation), NovoTTF is intended as an alternative to the Poison (i.e., chemotherapy) phase.

TTF stands for Tumor Treating Fields. It’s just alternating electronic fields that are intended to disrupt rapid cell division exhibited by cancer cells.

Side Effects

So this treatment replaces chemotherapy. What are the side effects? The skin on my scalp may get irritated. That’s a lot better than nausea, lethargy and the other side effects associated with chemo. It’s a little bit of a pain to deal with lugging around these electronics and I do get a lot of stares. That’s clearly a small price to pay to stay alive.

More information

Here are some informative videos for anyone interested.

I’m glad to be using this promising treatment especially since traditional chemo did not seem to be effective for me. That’s about all of the medical update for this post.


A Final thought — Meeting new people

In the airport, Tina and I sat in some seats next to electrical outlets, so I could get some treatment time in while waiting for our plane. None of the outlets on that wall worked. So I began to walk around looking for another outlet. A gentleman waved me over to use the outlet his phone was charging on. He asked about my strange head gear and in fact recognized it because his boss was none other than Bill Doyle — the venture capitalist who helped fund NovoCure in this venture. I knew the name Bill Doyle because of his video on ted.com about NovoTTF, which really got us excited about the product. See the video here:

http://www.ted.com/talks/bill_doyle_treating_cancer_with_electric_fields.html

It felt like fate guided me to meet this person. It was very encouraging because he said that Bill Doyle is very sharp and if he chose NovoCure to invest in, it’s because he’s confident that it’s going to be a success.

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20 responses to “I’m Wired with NovoTTF-100A”

  1. marcus says :

    lookin good bro.

  2. Liisa and Ken Ennor says :

    Ken:

    The NovoCure treatment is very encouraging. Keep up your brave battle.

    Love,

    Liisa and Ken

  3. Anonymous says :

    Bless your heart or should I say head. You are constantly in our thoughts and prayers.

  4. Anonymous says :

    Hi Ken,
    This is pretty amazing. Very impressive how you and Tina found this technology, went after it, and made it happen. Thanks again too for sharing your journey… it’s truly inspirational. Will give you a call soon.
    Jim

  5. Bill Sullivan says :

    ken,

    Good stuff. I’m really glad and hopeful about this phase for you.

  6. Linzy says :

    Awesome!! I am hoping for the best with your new treatment Ken.

  7. Kim says :

    Thanks for sharing the TED talk. Incredibly interesting, inspiring, and hope filled. And, I love the serendipity of meeting the guy in the airport.

  8. Allenb says :

    Good luck, Ken. Hope this treatment works for you!

  9. Beth says :

    Ken,
    Your spirit is beyond amazing. Thank you again for sharing your journey. I’ve learned so much from you! This new treatment sounds encouraging. Hang in there. Much love, Beth

  10. rustyphillips1969@yahoo.com says :

    keep on ROCKING!!!

    Rusty

  11. Carolyn "Carol" Weddington says :

    Though you and my son are following different paths to the same goal, my sincerest hope is that both yours and his treatment plans will be successful. I am looking forward to reading your next installment and following your progress. More “power” to you, Ken!

  12. Sarah says :

    Hi Thanks for sharing your story. Wish you well with this amazing treatment. May I ask what does it cost to have this device as know someone who may need it. Hugs. Sarah

    • Christy says :

      I am currently writing a paper for school on this and was wondering the same thing about cost Sarah. So far I have only found one mention of cost and it ranged from $10-15k per month.

      God Bless you Ken!

  13. Ozge says :

    Hello,
    Do you have any updates for this treatment? I’m a GBM patient relative from Turkey and Novo offers this therapy for very high prices. I would like to learn more about hands on experince.

    I wish you well with all. Keep on fighting

  14. Anonymous says :

    Hi there,
    thanks for providing feedback on the treatment.

    I had a question about the device.
    Does it actually send current into the skin or is it completely insulated and it acts like a magnet on your skin?

    Please let me know if I should elaborate on my question.

    Thanks for your help and effort in advance.

    • Tina says :

      Hi,

      I believe it’s completely insulated acting more like a magnet. I pulled this from some Novocure literature I found in our files…

      Electric fields exert forces on electric charges similar to the way a magnet exerts forces on metallic particles within a magnetic field. These forces cause movement and rotation of electrically charged biological building blocks, much like the alignment of metallic particles seen along the lines of force radiating outwards from a magnet.

      Electric fields can also cause muscles to twitch and if strong enough may heat tissues. TTFields are alternating electric fields of low intensity. This means that they change their direction repetitively many times a second. Since they change direction very rapidly (200 thousand times a second), they do not cause muscles to twitch, nor do they have any effects on other electrically activated tissues in the body (brain, nerves and heart). Since the intensities of TTFields in the body are very low, they do not cause heating.

      The breakthrough finding made by NovoCure was that finely tuned alternating fields of very low intensity, now termed TTFields (Tumor Treating Fields), cause a significant slowing in the growth of cancer cells. Due to the unique geometric shape of cancer cells when they are multiplying, TTFields cause the building blocks of these cells to move and pile up in such a way that the cells physically explode. In addition, cancer cells also contain miniature building blocks which act as tiny motors in moving essential parts of the cells from place to place. TTFields cause these tiny motors to fall apart since they have a special type of electric charge.

      As a result of these two effects, cancer tumor growth is slowed and can even reverse after continuous exposure to TTFields.

      Other cells in the body (normal healthy tissues) are affected much less than cancer cells since they multiply at a much slower rate if at all. In addition TTFields can be directed to a certain part of the body, leaving sensitive areas out of their reach.

      In conclusion, TTField hold the promise of serving as a brand new cancer treatment with very few side effects and promising affectivity in slowing or reversing this disease.

  15. Lisa says :

    Awesome! I’m planning on using NovoTTF on myself instead of more Temodar for grade 3. Sure hope it works as well as it appears. Hope it will replace radiation at some point. Yeah, another wonderful Israeli invention!

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