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First in Northwest Michigan to Offer Glioblastoma Treatment

Published on Monday, October 08, 2018
man wearing optune deviceMcLaren Northern Michigan is pleased to be the only northwestern Michigan hospital certified to offer Optune® for the treatment of newly diagnosed and recurrent glioblastoma (GBM).

Glioblastoma Multiforme, or GBM, is the most aggressive type of primary brain tumor. While GBM is rare, it is the most common type of primary brain cancer in adults with approximately 12,500 new cases diagnosed each year, including the cancer diagnosis of Senator John McCain.

A wearable and portable medical device, Optune is for the treatment of adults 22 years of age and older with GMB, and the first FDA-approved therapy in more than a decade for newly diagnosed GBM. For recurrent patients, it can be used alone when surgery and radiation treatment options have been exhausted. For newly diagnosed patients, Optune is used with the chemotherapy temozolomide (TMZ) after surgery and radiation with TMZ. In a clinical trial, adding Optune to TMZ was proven to delay GBM tumor growth and extend survival in newly diagnosed patients compared with TMZ alone.

Optune creates low-intensity electric fields called Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) which potentially slow or stop cell division leading to cancer cell death. Because TTFields do not enter the bloodstream like a drug, they did not significantly increase TMZ-related side effects for newly diagnosed patients. In clinical trials the most common device related adverse events were scalp irritation from device use and headache.

Optune, in combination with standard chemotherapy, temozolomide, provides unprecedented five-year survival rates in newly diagnosed glioblastoma. “Optune is becoming the gold standard of care,” stated Isaac Kaufman, MD, Radiation Oncologist with McLaren Northern Michigan. “The National Comprehensive Cancer Network now has Optune as part of the recommended care guidelines for newly diagnosed GMB patients.”


“Our goal at McLaren Northern Michigan is to treat cancer patients with the latest, approved therapies available, so we are pleased to add Optune as part of a combination treatment for those fighting GBM,” said Dr. Kaufman. “We also know how important quality of life is to patients and Optune is a therapy that allows patients to go about their daily activities with minimal disruption to their lives.”