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Electrical Field Treats Brain Cancer

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the reverse-EEG dept.

Biotech 136

amigoro writes "A device that specifically targets rapidly growing cancer cells with intermediate frequency electrical fields doubled the survival rates of patients with brain cancer, according to an article apperaring in PNAS. The device uses electrical fields to disrupt tumor growth by interfering with cell division of cancerous cells, causing them to stop proliferating and die off instead of dividing and growing. Healthy brain cells rarely divide and have different electrical properties than cancerous brain cells. This allows the device to target cancer cells without affecting the healthy cells. Essentially no device-related side effects were seenin the clinical trial."

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Confused (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316701)

I am confused! I thought electrical fields cause brain cancer!

Get more Confused (3, Informative)

Skinkie (815924) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316741)

I thought this was already claimed by George Lakhovsky, Nikola Tesla and Royal Raymond Rife. Called Resonance Therapy.

Re:Get more Confused (3, Informative)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 7 years ago | (#19318161)

I thought this was already claimed by George Lakhovsky, Nikola Tesla and Royal Raymond Rife. Called Resonance Therapy.

Also by Edgar Cayce if I remember correctly -- he also mentioned the use of specific frequencies of light.

Re:Confused (2, Insightful)

DinZy (513280) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316783)

I am not sure what an electrical field is. I know what a magnetic filed and an electric field are must be some new scientifical thing. :)

Re:Confused (2, Informative)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316911)

nah...

Not new at all. We learned all about it in 1st year EE.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_field [wikipedia.org] .

Ian

Re:Confused (1)

kkwst2 (992504) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317731)

Yo Meat, You just made his (admittedly tongue-in-cheek) point! Look at the title of the article! ;)

Re:Confused (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 7 years ago | (#19318155)

ahhh... yes... didn't see that he was nitpicking. His improper punctuation didn't make it any clearer either :)

Re:Confused (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317843)

An electrical field is used in certain sporting events. [wikipedia.org]

Well oxygen can be a poision too (2, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316801)

All things in moderation.
Not enough O2 and you die. Too much and you die (approx 2 atmospheres partial pressure IIRC).
Water too. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Strange [wikipedia.org]

Most drugs are poisons if taken in excessive quantities too

Re:Well oxygen can be a poision too (1)

yiantsbro (550957) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316945)

Like other things in life: you can't live with it, you can't live without it.

Re:Well oxygen can be a poision too (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317179)

Actually, if you toss a modicum of salt in the water, you can continue drinking it.

Obligitory (1)

DAtkins (768457) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317619)

It has what plants need... it has electrolytes...

Re:Obligitory (1)

WeblionX (675030) | more than 7 years ago | (#19318351)

But what are electrolytes?!

Re:Confused (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19318269)

Yes, but only in Europe and especially in Sweden and the UK. I would advise the Technion against doing trials in those two countries. The rest of the world should be fine. It must be due to something with the local water supply - perhaps they don't have enough mercury in their water.

Re:Confused (1)

(TK2)Dessimat0r (669581) | more than 7 years ago | (#19319161)

Haven't you heard of using radiation to treat cancer, you cock-smoking peendoctor?

1931 called (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316713)

Re:1931 called (3, Insightful)

macs4all (973270) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317681)

And what's so impossible about Rife? Yeah, he got some stuff wrong; but medical researchers have known for years about the healing power of certain electrical currents, and have demonstrated same in many experiments.

It seems logical, then, that certain types of cells might find their growth enhanced, or retarded, by electrical stimuli that a different cell type might not be significantly affected by, either one way or another.

Once we have that type of a differentiation, and can do it repeatedly, that forms the very basis of a treatment modality.

Maybe if Rife was transported into "now", and had a present-day lab, with all sorts of fancy DSP-based signal synthesis equipment and analysis tools (like PET scans to track the tumor's advance/retreat), he himself might very well be the author of this study. Who's to know?

But the guy was obviously fairly close to a "legitimate" medical treatment.

Re:1931 called (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317717)

If Rife's stuff worked, it's a pity there was no follow up. When there's an observable effect, it's the effect that's important not the explanation. It does not matter if the observer's reasoning is wrong, if the effect is consistent and repeatable it can be used. Following the links, we see that portions of his claims have been observed with better tools now available.

Re:1931 called (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19318017)

That's why it's bad to make up pseudoscience or mystical explanations. If you push some silly agenda in your explanation you hurt your credibility and people are also unlikely to trust your observations.

Re:1931 called (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 7 years ago | (#19318183)

In the absence of knowledge, you have to try things. One of the advantages of pursuing this through academic channels is that things are followed up, or have a better chance of it.

from the article (4, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316717)

At the time of publication, researchers found that among the 10 patients with recurring GBM treated with the Novo-TTF, the median length of time to disease progression was 26.1 weeks; progression free survival at six months was 50 percent; and median overall survival was 62.2 weeks. This is more than double the rates reported in historical data - approximately 9.5 weeks, 15.3%, and 29.3 weeks, respectively.
The ten patients involved in this study received treatment for a total of 280 weeks without a single treatment related adverse event. The only device related side effect seen was a mild to moderate contact dermatitis beneath the field delivering electrodes

this is an interesting application- for a long time it has been known that cancer has drastically different biochemistry [clearly seen on some MRI scans] so it stands to reason they might also have odd electrical properties as well. since the treatment is confined to the immediate area near electrods placed on the skin of the scull any other effects would be limited to that area as well.

Electrodes? (1)

NouvelleChimie (1101141) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316913)

But is that how it works? are electrodes applied to the skin and only the cells in the immediate vicinity are affected? So how deep does the field penetrate the body? If the answer is not very deep then you couldn't treat stuff like cervical cancer or colon cancer, because you can't stick electrodes (comfortably?) onto those body parts. If its a big field, however, that you slide the person into (like an MRI [wikipedia.org] ) with a deep-penetrating field, it'd make more sense.

Re:Electrodes? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316951)

the answer is not very deep then you couldn't treat stuff like cervical cancer or colon cancer,
I think that is about half right. because the field can not penetrate too far from the electrodes you would need to insert them inside the body to work. as for them being uncomfortable, it depends on how strong the field is. if it is very strong there would need to be a way to desensitize nerves to the field- this can be in the form of anesthetics or outright temporary overload of nerves. that isnt as dangerous as it sounds- if you've ever had your taste buds fried by hot chillis you know it will recover and desensitizes the nerves to stimuli [eg. food tastes boring, numb taste senses] this kind of implantation is already done with pacemakers and brain implants with little discomfort.

Re:Electrodes? (1)

NouvelleChimie (1101141) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317113)

So would it be possible to make a surrounding field? I don't remember much physics... you can't have a field that goes in a loop?

Re:Electrodes? (1)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317155)

Need to treat those deep cervical or colon cancers? You need insertable electrodes!:

http://www.sextek.com/products/vaginalbp.html [sextek.com]

http://www.sextek.com/products/large-bipolar.html [sextek.com]

Re:Electrodes? (1)

dazlari (711032) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317457)

We need to get a PNAS report on that.

Re:Electrodes? (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317125)

We're talking about brain cancer. The electricity only has to go through the skull.
If the field is too shallow to go through the skull, trepanning should allow electrodes to get close to almost any brain tumor that needs killing, though you would have to place them carefully.

Re:Electrodes? (what about TMS?) (3, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317409)

But is that how it works? are electrodes applied to the skin and only the cells in the immediate vicinity are affected?

Yes, in the current iteration it seems that it delivers electric fields directly through the scalp:

http://www.novocuretrial.com/science.html [novocuretrial.com]

The NovoTTF-100A device used in this trial delivers very low intensity, alternating electric fields to the tumor site through the scalp.

If the answer is not very deep then you couldn't treat stuff like cervical cancer or colon cancer, because you can't stick electrodes (comfortably?) onto those body parts. If its a big field, however, that you slide the person into (like an MRI) with a deep-penetrating field, it'd make more sense.

I'm wondering if transcranial magnetic stimulation [wikipedia.org] (a technique I work with, but in a very different context) could be useful in non-invasively delivering such a field. It's effective depth is only a couple of centimeters max (unless somebody's using an experimental Deep TMS [brainsway.com] system), but it might be better than scalp electrodes. It would be impossible to get it to run continuously at the 100-300kHz rate that their 2004 journal paper says is needed, but it's possible that single rapidly-changing pulses at a slower rate could have the desired effect.

Re:Electrodes? (2, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317595)

'So how deep does the field penetrate the body? If the answer is not very deep then you couldn't treat stuff like cervical cancer or colon cancer'

My exhaustive study of the Slashdot summary leads me to believe this only being used on brain cancer. The electrical field prevents the cells from dividing and healthy brain cells rarely divide. The implication seems to be that this wouldn't work elsewhere because the cells in other parts of the body divide quite frequently.

It's not comfortable. (3, Informative)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317675)

If the answer is not very deep then you couldn't treat stuff like cervical cancer or colon cancer, because you can't stick electrodes (comfortably?) onto those body parts.

It's not comfortable, but it's nicer than dying. It's called brachytherapy [cancerhelp.org.uk] .

oohhh (1)

Vexor (947598) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316737)

What a shocking discovery. Bad joke's aside, it's always great to see stuff like this. Gratz to the lucky survivors.

Re:oohhh (2, Funny)

Divebus (860563) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316787)

Great development. Now figure out how to stick an electrode in the right place to solve colorectal cancer - the #2 killer these days.

Re:oohhh (3, Funny)

kurzweilfreak (829276) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316897)

Bend over.

Re:oohhh (0, Troll)

jcgf (688310) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317017)

Religion will only end with the dying breath of the second-to-last human

I hope it doesn't take that long!

Re:oohhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316901)

If you're gonna write joke's, shouldn't you also write survivor's? I mean why the random application of apostrophe pluralization? If you're gonna be a retard, go all the way. Be proud. A third-grader spells better than you.

Re:oohhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19318629)

A third-grader spells better than you.

and a third-grader is more polite than you. we all have our flaws it seems.

Wow (1)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316763)

It is always nice to see news like this. People generally get too much bad news that causes fear. It's cool to see something that gives hope that we aren't all *$&#holes and we're doing some good things that save lives. =)

Just reinventing the wheel (4, Interesting)

Sase (311326) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316785)

The basis of all chemotherapy and the like has constantly focused on the fundamental differences between cancerous cells and normal cells: ie the fact that they're not dividing rapidly.

This is why people who receive chemo have problems with diarrhea and hair loss.. it just so happens that those cells are rapidly dividing and are affected just as well.

However, other treatments (few and far between,) such for Chronic Mylogenous Leukemia using Gleevac, which is designed to target the BCR-ABL fusion protein or Herceptin, used against breast cancers that overexpress ErbB2 receptor, are both novel in the sense that they exploit even more unique features of the cancer. That's what makes them so fantastic.

This new therapy won't provide too many benefits as far as the nastyness of treatment b/c it works just like chemo (in the case of metastases.) However, in the case of solid tumors ie GBM schwannomas, etc. perhaps it could be useful.

By the way, 10 patients is nearly not enough to be conclusive in any respect.

Re:Just reinventing the wheel (5, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316849)

it's a little more then re inventing the wheel, it's a new method of treating some cancers which doesn't invovle almost killing the person with chemo and destroying their immune system.

and they aren't claiming anything conclusive, but with such promising results with 10 people it warrants serious research.

maybe when YOU come up with a cure for cancer you can be a little more critical, ok?

Re:Just reinventing the wheel (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19317041)

The basis of all chemotherapy and the like has constantly focused on the fundamental differences between cancerous cells and normal cells: ie the fact that they're not dividing rapidly.

Ummm, no.

There are many, many differences aside from the fact that cancer cells are dividing rapidly.

A different mode of transportation (4, Informative)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317423)

1) I have been battling cancer for three years; I'm pretty familiar with the methods and mechanisms of treatment.

2) I've read that it's a myth that cancer cells divide more quickly than healthy cells. The defect is that they continue dividing when they should sense that it's time to stop dividing. It's a matter of duration rather than rate.

3) There are many different kinds of chemotherapy. Some make hair fall out, some cause diarrhea, some cause nausea, some damage skin, some make nerves go whacky. I've had all of those side effects from one drug or another. There are BIG differences between chemotherapies which must mean there are differences in their effect on cells.

4) Brain cancers are particulary troublesome because many drugs can't crossing the blood-brain barrier. Electromagnetism could be very useful where chemotherapy is ineffective.

5) Immunotherapy can be useful at slowing tumor growth or making cancer cells more susceptible to chemotherapy. But immunotherapy alone often isn't enough, and immunotherapy can have very nasty side effects. I suffered much pain and scarring from Erbitux, a drug that blocks epithelial growth factor, but it didn't do a lick of good for my colon cancer.

6) A trial on ten patients won't be the basis for widespread application of this method. But positive results in a human trial is far ahead of many of the supposed breakthroughs that we read about on Slashdot.

AlpineR

Re:A different mode of transportation (2, Informative)

Sase (311326) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317875)

I'm sorry that you're having to deal with cancer. It certainly is an uphill battle.

Nothing can be more experiential than actually going through the treatment yourself, and I applaud you on your efforts to research and figure out what's going on..

In regards to #2, it's a matter of symantecs. It is true, they do not divide faster, so to speak, they divide more often. The reason for this is (at least, so far mostly, for which mechanisms have been elucidated,) is because certain elements of the cell (ie proteins,) regulate steps within the normal cell cycle that would normally, prevent it from dividing in the case of damage, for instance. Most of the chemotherapy (other than specific ones, such as EGF or VEGF, which are designed to limit the effects of endogenously derived 'growth' stimulators, that although not in excess, the cells become super responsive to,) is openly, as you can attest to, are really a shot in the dark.

The idea of most chemotherapy (other than the specific ones..) is to damage the cell before it has a chance to repair itself. Cells that are constantly dividing don't have a chance, nor do they have the ability (in a variety of cancers,) to repair themselves, and in the process die.

The differences in the hair loss, diarrhea etc. (Although, there are some other processes involved in a variety of side effects, but the major ones are due to the relative cytotoxicity,)is due to the intrinsic nature of the cells involved and the chemotheraputic agent used. ie case and point with your Blood brain barrier example.

As you and I both said, this new finding could be very fantastic.. but its hard to say what long term effects it will have nor its relative precision.

Re:A different mode of transportation (3, Insightful)

ameline (771895) | more than 7 years ago | (#19318061)

Hang in there -- I hope you get well soon.

Re:A different mode of transportation (1)

Skippy_kangaroo (850507) | more than 7 years ago | (#19318641)

Re #2

It depends on the cancer.

To simplify (hopefully not misleadingly so), there are agressive cancers and indolent cancers. Agressive cancers do in fact divide more frequently than healthy cells. And this is the reason why treatments for agressive cancers are, in some respects, more successful than for indolent cancers. But it is very much a double edged sword - kill or cure. With indolent cancers the treatment is more difficult because the difference between these cancers and normal cells, in terms of cell division, is much less. Thus, they do not have as much success with outright cures - but people affected by these cancers have 'reasonable' life expectancies because of the slower progression of the cancer and possibility of extended remission.

Re:Just reinventing the wheel (1)

uncreativ (793402) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317703)

Interesting perspective. However I think one point in the article was that this was helpful specificaly for treating brain cancer. While I'm not an oncologist, I suspect one challenge in treating brain cancer with chemotherapy is the blood/brain barrier.

While the article does discuss possible uses for other cancers, I suspect that the studies have focused on brain cancer simply because it's easy to focus an electric field on a portion of the body, and non-cancerous brain cells are at the botton ranking for how much cell division they undergo.

1/r^2 rign any bells? (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317745)

This new therapy won't provide too many benefits as far as the nastyness of treatment b/c it works just like chemo (in the case of metastases.) However, in the case of solid tumors ie GBM schwannomas, etc. perhaps it could be useful.

You can apply EM fields to small volumes and does not have to be a whole body treatment. Getting a uniform field through a person would be difficult.

diarrhea cell? (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317749)

> ... with diarrhea and hair loss.. ... those cells ... ...and, what, pray tell, is a diarrhea cell?

A hair cell, I can imagine, but...well, no. Just no.

Re:Just reinventing the wheel (0, Flamebait)

umbrellasd (876984) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317793)

By the way, 10 patients is nearly not enough to be conclusive in any respect.
Which is why it is just as likely you are talking out your butt as they are. Without more details and wider studies, it is premature to claim that this is no different than chemotherapy. Your argument boils down to a very basic logical fallacy:
  • All dogs are mammals.
  • All cats are mammals.
  • Therefore, all dogs are cats.
And you got rated 5 for that dysyllogistic tripe. Quality.

Re:Just reinventing the wheel (1)

Sase (311326) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317971)

Before you start a diatribe, consider the following logic that I used, that I was otherwise unclear in my statements:

Most Chemotherapy is based on inhibiting processes of 'normal' cells by inhibiting specific cell replication mechanisms.
Alternating electric fields inhibit specific cell replication mechanisms.

Therefore, 'regular' chemotherapy and Efield chemotherapy are based on similar principles.

If you were to compare my logic to yours, it would actually equate to the following:
All dogs are mammals
All cats are mammals
Therefore, *dogs and cats must be related*

From the original article that states the technology:
"interference with the proper formation of the mitotic spindle, whereas the second results in rapid disintegration of the dividing cells" [the disintegration they speak of is pore formation.
http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/cgi/content/full /64/9/3288 [aacrjournals.org]

FYI, for instance, vincristine messes with the assembly of tubulin into microtubules, which make up the mitotic spindles.. hrmmmmmm. That does sound familar!

And no, I wasn't talking out of my butt, I just happen to know about Chemotherapy and I actually read the Journal Article.

Re:Just reinventing the wheel (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317945)

Most brain tumors (the subject of the article) are resistant to drug therapies. That leaves radiation, of the high frequency ionizing variety, which definitely does have negative effects on normal tissue. If the effect is real it will be a big thing.

Chemotherapy isn't much fun, but it's a lot better than nothing. Many cancers are no longer death sentences because of its development. Yes, newer, more targeted treatments can be better, but note that that they're usually specific to a particular type of cancer with a particular mutation.

Also, ten patients is more than enough to demonstrate and effect if the effect is big enough and consistent enough. I'm sure they'll recruit more though. Ten is often the number you use for a safety trial before beginning a trial that's actually designed to look at efficacy. If your treatment is really good sometimes you see an effect in that safety trial.

Re:Just reinventing the wheel (1)

bane2571 (1024309) | more than 7 years ago | (#19318385)

I'm no expert but it seems to me that this would be hugely better than chemo from the simple fact that you can point it. No worries with the cell stopping chems running through your whole bloodstream you only need to worry about whatever is under the electrodes. Ultimately localizing a highly damaging treatment makes it perfect when there isn't anything in the locality that can be damaged.

Sooo (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316793)

Maybe ol' Wilhelm [wilhelmreichmuseum.org] wasn't so far off base after all.

Cell phone use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316795)

So excessive cell phone use or living under high power lines may stop brain cancer? Next thing you know, daily chocolate and wine will be good for you!

Re:Cell phone use! (1)

Joaz Banbeck (1105839) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316955)

I predict that this may be yet another option on cell phones as the manufacturers compete for advanced features. You call up your doctor's web site, download the radiation pattern, and cure your brain cancer while you talk.

Re:Cell phone use! (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317097)

Great, as if cancer treatments weren't expensive enough already, now the phone company is getting involved?

Re:Cell phone use? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317177)

Next thing you know, daily chocolate and wine will be good for you!

Psychologically speaking, it is.

Especially if shared and it leads to sex.

Re:Cell phone use? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317881)

More than psychologically. Wine and chocolate are both good for the cardiovascular system. If you have some cinnamon in that chocolate it's good for preventing diabetes too. In moderation of course.

Oh, and be careful if the chocolate has caffeine in it and you do that sex thing. Caffeine makes the boys swim faster and longer.

Re:Cell phone use? (1)

glittalogik (837604) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317501)

They could possibly be if they didn't use such high frequencies. Likewise, sticking your head in the microwave to cure brain cancer won't achieve much apart from securing you a Darwin Award nomination.

Cells in the CNS don't replicate.. Hippocampus? (4, Interesting)

Sase (311326) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316805)

The article states that the cells in the brain don't really replicate or regenerate.

However, recent research has shown that cells in the area of the hippocampus do in fact replicate, and are indicated in the role they play in cancer:

Take a peak:
http://www.biopsychiatry.com/newbraincell/index.ht ml [biopsychiatry.com]

Spelling/Grammar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316809)

'Seenin'? Come on, editors. You can do better than that.

Re:Spelling/Grammar... (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19318955)

'Seenin'? Come on, editors. You can do better than that.

Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence...

long term effects. (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316813)

watch some asshole will make a comment "oh but what about the long term effects?" and then propose a bullshit natural treatment.

little do they realise when you have brain cancer, long term effects are meaningless when you would otherwise die in the short term

Re:long term effects. (2, Funny)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317123)

Oh! But what about the long term effects?

Personally, I am a big fan of homeopathic treatments. Everyone knows that the long term effects of electromagnetic fields are cancers. That's why I say not to use them for treatment! Go for the treatment that will not produce those nasty long term effects!

Homeopathy! Yeah, that's the ticket!

Re:long term effects. (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317201)

the beauty of the "long term effects" scare tactic is no one can proof you wrong for 10 or 20 years, and even then you can say "oh but it takes LONGER to have effects".

the only way to bust assholes that make these claims is not to play the game, and demand THEY prove their statement. putting the work back on them usually shines the spot light of science and truth on them, and they run away.

Re:long term effects. (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317495)

the only way to bust assholes that make these claims is not to play the game, and demand THEY prove their statement. putting the work back on them usually shines the spot light of science and truth on them, and they run away.
No, then they say "The evil drug/medical device companies have the money and resources, they should do the proving". Or they screech "precautionary principle, precautionary principle", thus nicely demonstrating the invalidity of that "principle".

Re:long term effects. (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317159)

and then propose a bullshit natural treatment.

Never underestimate the power of a good chant! :)

Especially with an Enya song playing in the background.

Oh, and candles. Preferably Wiccan.

Re:long term effects. (3, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317259)

my most hated of all "natural" therapies is iridology. it's the classic example of people thinking putting an ology at the end of something makes it a science.

worst of all is the claims these idiots make, such as being able to diagnose illnesses just by the colour of your eyes. These charlatans usually try backup their nonsense with fake creditals from bogus "medical schools" of natural treatments.

the standard bullshit line is "oh look your eyes have -insert fake medical term- you must be low on -insert random vitamin- you need to buy this $80 bottle of - some product with the phrase natural whatever in it, which is filled with pills containing processed rubbish from china-"

Re:long term effects. (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317841)

I wonder what the long term effects of taking impure, nonstandardized doses of untested drugs is.

They forgot to include the fact... (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316815)

that the people were also taking daily doses of snake oil too.

No! (5, Funny)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316831)

I'm not putting high-voltage machinery next to my BRAIN. That'll cause...oh wait.

Re:No! (2, Informative)

zCyl (14362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19318949)

I'm not putting high-voltage machinery next to my BRAIN. That'll cause...oh wait.

You laugh (and you should perhaps, because it's funny), but there's a deeper underlying truth. This is clear evidence that we cannot haphazardly dismiss all concerns about electromagnetic interaction with biological systems as "obvious hogwash", like is so frequently done on Slashdot. If you watch the field, you'll see that there are a large number of non-thermal non-ionizing mechanisms for biological effects like this.

Nobody tell Alex Chiu (1)

\\ (118555) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316843)

Shit! I hope Alex Chiu didn't patent his magic everlasting magnetic rings, or everyone with cancer is fucked!

EMF + TTF = AOK (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316873)

If we require TTF emissions to be generated, anywhere EMF emissions are generated, then one could guarentee that treatment-time would be equal to exposure-time. Brilliant!

foil ftw (1)

vx922 (1108955) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316991)

one more reason ill keep my tin foil hat on the man created a device that will cure me but IS TRAING ME for the MK ultra project!!! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MK_Ultra [wikipedia.org]

Connection to cell-phone exposure worries? (3, Interesting)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316995)

There is a lot of fuss about whether cell phones, wi-fi etc. can damage bodies and minds by their radio waves. Although there is a lot of fuss, it is not justified by much (any?) significant scientific data.

Now it is shown that "intermediate frequency electrical fields" (whatever that means) can damage cancerous brain cells. Does this mean that a physiological effect (beneficial in this case) has been demonstrated, so that an adverse effect becomes more plausible?

I have no idea of the frequencies and amplitudes involved in the two cases (tumour treating fields vs. cell phones).* I'm guessing that the situations are so different that this result says nothing about the physiological effects of cell-phone exposure, but as the linked article contains no useful information about this, and the paper is unavailable, it is just a guess.

* I've looked for the paper on the PNAS website, but I can't find it - perhaps it is accepted but not yet published.

Re:Connection to cell-phone exposure worries? (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317129)

Now it is shown that "intermediate frequency electrical fields" (whatever that means) can damage cancerous brain cells. Does this mean that a physiological effect (beneficial in this case) has been demonstrated, so that an adverse effect becomes more plausible?

Intermediate frequency electrical fields, huh. Sounds like light/radio to me. After all, changing electrical fields induce changing perpendicular magnetic fields.

The articles want to be free. (3, Informative)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317847)

There is a lot of fuss about whether cell phones, wi-fi etc. can damage bodies and minds by their radio waves. Although there is a lot of fuss, it is not justified by much (any?) significant scientific data.

The full article [aacrjournals.org] has great references which show biological effects. At least one of these articles is available in full as a pdf. They report repeatable experiments and show relationships to frequency and intensity.

The disturbing part is that so much quack noise has been made about cell phone and wifi "radiation" that muddies the watter when so much useful information has been available since the 80's. It stinks that so much of society's resources were devoted to propagating noise when so much signal was available. This represents a complete failure of public education and broadcast media. At best, the failure is one of incompetence. At worst, it's intentional like the tobacco industry. Either way, the barriers must come down.

People who want to own ideas and publications are evil. Most research is publically supported and the public deserves the knowledge.

Re:Connection to cell-phone exposure worries? (1)

ringm000 (878375) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317893)

Yeah, you know, there are dangers all around us. Until recently, everyone thought water is safe, but it was shown that ingestion of as little as a gallon or two of water may cause death, and in case of inhalation, the lethal dose is much lower...

Intermediate Frequency? (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317099)

Intermediate between what and what, pray tell?

Well, obviously (1)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317143)

It's intermediate between beginning and advanced! These in particular must be present often enough to be said to be in attendance with some frequency, but clearly perfect attendance would put them in the advanced placement and that won't do at all. They should start with band members.

Re:Intermediate Frequency? (2, Informative)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317161)

"Low-intensity, intermediate-frequency (100-300 kHz), alternating electric fields, delivered by means of insulated electrodes, were found to have a profound inhibitory effect on the growth rate of a variety of human and rodent tumor cell lines" From: http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/cgi/content/full /64/9/3288 [aacrjournals.org] Tim S

Re:Intermediate Frequency? (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317387)

Ten thousand times lower frequency than wi-fi, five thousand times higher than power lines. Below the AM radio band.

Re:Intermediate Frequency? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317419)

Indeed, that should cause very serious concern for anyone who owns a GSM cell phone, as I'm pretty sure the frequency that the radio switches on and off when looking for a tower falls within that range, resulting in that obnoxious chirping in your computer speakers.

Has anyone done any research to test the effects of GSM tower probing on the human body?

Re:Intermediate Frequency? (1)

xluap (652530) | more than 7 years ago | (#19318215)

100-300Khz. That is about the longwave radio band. It would be interesting to see if people living near a longwave transmitter have less or more cancers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longwave [wikipedia.org]

Eureka! (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317149)

OK, so now cell phones can *cure* cancer! :-)

it can't be! (4, Funny)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317221)

The physics geniuses on Slashdot, not to mention the cell phone industry, keep saying that electromagnetic radiation is non-ionizing, so it can't affect the brain!

Re:it can't be! (1)

Ankur Dave (929048) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317545)

Low-frequency, and therefore low-energy EM radiation is non-ionizing. Your cell phone emits this kind of radiation, as do radio towers and WiFi access points. However, high-frequency, high-energy EM radiation like X-rays and gamma rays is ionizing. You can't lump all EM radiation in one group; remember that light is also EM radiation.

Re:it can't be! (2, Insightful)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317739)

Woosh--that just went completely over your head, didn't it?

Of course, cell phones don't emit ionizing radiation. The silliness is that some people believe that non-ionizing radiation is automatically safe.

Re:it can't be! (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317823)

Cell phone radiation is non ionizing. Note that the study they're talking about showed that whatever fields they're using interfere with the tumor growth but DON'T cause any adverse effects in normal tissue. There's a difference between convincing a cell it doesn't want to divide and screwing up it's DNA enough to cause it to become cancerous. A big difference.

Re:it can't be! (1)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19319075)

Cell phone radiation is non ionizing.

Yes, you're stating the obvious.

There's a difference between convincing a cell it doesn't want to divide and screwing up it's DNA enough to cause it to become cancerous. A big difference.

The argument for the safety of cell phones has been that non-ionizing radiation can't affect cell growth at all. The fact that this does is a bad sign. And interfering with specific subpopulations of cells can be very bad. By analogy, imagine you had a big beam that can be tuned to stop selected groups of people; if you tune it to stop criminals, you reduce crime; if you tune it to stop police, you increase crime. Carefully tuned, this effect might well stop not cancer cells, but immune system cells responsible for fighting cancer.

Re:it can't be! (1)

zCyl (14362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19318969)

The physics geniuses on Slashdot, not to mention the cell phone industry, keep saying that electromagnetic radiation is non-ionizing, so it can't affect the brain!

And cows are spherical too. :)

Crap! (2, Funny)

wtansill (576643) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317303)

Now the phone and Wi-Fi industries can tout their offerings as "medical devices" and jack up the selling price. Meanwhile, aluminum futures will crater is it can be "proven" that tin-foil hats block "beneficial" radio frequencies...

minor side effects (1)

rgaginol (950787) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317375)

The treatment was largely successful, with the exception of the occasional creation of a highly intelligent electro mutant. I for one welcome our new highly intelligent electro mutant overlords. ... Aww c'mon, someone had to say it;)

200 kHz and it breaks apart clumps (3, Informative)

qparadox (1105733) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317691)

Taken from the US Clinical Trials Site:
http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct/show/NCT00379470?orde r=2 [clinicaltrials.gov]

"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."
->So it appears to be low intensity EM radiation at approximately 200 kHz.

"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."

->To me it sounds like a rather localized effect requiring significant tuning to see any effect meaning that you're still safe to use your cell phone and can save the tinfoil for BBQing.

Cause or Cure? (1)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 7 years ago | (#19318491)

It's great that some sort of electromagnetic field might have a therapeutic value against brain tumors. But this news doesn't decrease the concern about cell phone/Wi-Fi radiation and brain tumors...quite the opposite...since something that has ANY demonstrated effect can obviously have a negative effect as well. The cell phone industry has maintained for years that there could not possibly be any effect on a living brain of cell phone radiation, even in the face of studies [emrnetwork.org] showing increases [telegraph.co.uk] in tumors [technologyreview.com] as well as negative cognitive effects [emrnetwork.org] . Now, perhaps, they will say that there are effects...but only beneficial ones...not those nasty bad ones.

Re:Cause or Cure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19319011)

It's funny, really. Because if this story had said that the same frequency of electric field treatment caused brain cancer, people here would laugh and mock the research as they have done most other times the topic comes up. But because it says it cures cancer, all of the sudden everyone seems willing to accept it, and then the floodgate opens to them accepting the negative result as well.

This says that the rejection of the negative results has been largely based on emotion.

What the article doesn't say (2, Interesting)

WannaBeGeekGirl (461758) | more than 7 years ago | (#19318675)

Is what concerns me most.

In 2005 I was referred to an ECT (ElectroConvulsive Therapy sometimes called the old term Electroshock) program for treatment of treatment resistent unipolar depression I've had for 13 years. The doctors only told me the legal minimum of possible side effects. I had 30 grand mal seizures, the minimum considered therapeutic. They couldn't do anymore because I was maxxed out on caffeine and my heart was going into irregular rhythms when they'd try to prolong the seizure with more electricity. (Just short of an amp) In other words, the brain doesn't like seizures. ECT has its origins as a form of torture and relies on the use of a side-effect that has an entire disease, epilepsy, that we try to make go away, as its "therapy". They may paint it as less barbaric because they added general anesthesia and muscle relaxant, but its still the same idea. Break the brain to fix it? Add along to that how many anesthesiologists mess up the general and muscle relaxant leaving the patient conscious but paralyzed as the seizure starts, so they feel like they're choking, but can't move or scream. Its hardly humane. I'm not going to link the support sites, because that would seem to give me more of an agenda here then I meant to come off with.

I went into ECT with a very open mind (no pun intended) because frankly I wanted my life back and 5 psych consults were telling me this was my last hope, save the VNS pacemaker that is held up in FDA red-tape and not covered by major insurance providers for TRD yet. I knew I risked some memory damage during the treatment, my life (as with any general anesthesia procedure) and that its terrifying. Well TRD that keeps you bed-ridden is pretty lousy too. Depression kills most of its victims with their own hands. I was living in constant fear of taking my own life. There are things worse than death. I had never had small scale memory loss, or repetative surgery. So I tried ECT.

What I learned was that I wasn't given all the facts, most ECT patients aren't. Almost everyone that finds out I've had ECT thinks I'm kidding. They can't believe such an inhumane procedure is still used. They ask me if its like it was "in that movie with Jack Nicholson movie?" Most of those people that find out are doctors that read my medical history. I carry it in my purse because I have no memory of the majority of the two and a half years before 2005.

I don't understand the jargon in that article. I do understand that physical and emotional suffering of disease will put a patient at risk to fall prey to unethical procedures. I cannot say if some of those will be in the name of research leading to better treatments. I just know that when you have a death sentence, a limited time and the pain is untreatable, ethical treatment of a patient is huge. I'm going to be very careful about letting doctors put electricity into my brain again. I sacrificed memory and vocabulary and now have 2 day long migraines twice a week because someone messed up. Hindsite isn't 20/20 for me, my memory is gone except for the journaling I did. I don't even know if I'd do it again. Thats what I guess I'm thinking people should consider when it comes to letting doctors play god with your mind.

Some more explanations (5, Insightful)

FreshnFurter (599451) | more than 7 years ago | (#19319019)

I should precurse this by saying that I am a medical physicist, irradiating cancer cells is what I do for a living.

Unlike the hype and scaremongering about cell phones, this actually has some science behind it. An article in Cancer Research (2004) (: Cancer Res. 2004 May 1;64(9):3288-95.) desribes the same technique (by the same authors) applied in vitro. This means they took some cancer cells in a test tube and subjected them to the fields. There they saw that over the course of 24 hours there is an inhibition in growth, over several days in tumors implanted in mice a reduction in tumor growth was seen (this means that the tumor grows slower).

Independently, a group in Cleveland investigated the influence of electric fields at very low frequencies (50Hz, yes that's the frequency of our daily AC-current) and found inhibition of cell cycles, (this means that the cell is moving through it's cycle).

To put things into context, we see some inhibition at low frequency (50Hz), and disruption of cell division at 100-300kHz. Cell phones work at frequencies of the horder of GHz. (for you slashdotters, replacing Hz with bytes will tell you all you need to now about the relative values of kHz, MHz and GHz ;-) )

So I am reasonably optimistic that there is some truth to all this. However, there seems to be a selectivity that will not work as an advantage all of the time. The technique only seems to work if the field is switched on during cell mitosis. This means it will only work on cells that are actively replicating. So the it will only work well if and when the cells you are targeting have a different proliferation rate, than the ones you do not want to affect. Of course brain cells are a good example as their replication rate is extremely slow (if any).

Some caveats: The experiment (in vitro) as described, has not been reproduced by an independent group. The number of patients used in the in vivo experiment is very low, too low to distinguish with any significant probability that the results obtained are not merely a statistical effect. The results however are promising. But that is the way science works. Slowly and methodically: FYI there is a specific way things are done when new modalities are found: 1) You look for dose effects, what is the dose that does no harm. This means you take a group of people and give each subsection and ever increasing dose until you see some bad effects. 2) Then perform a study of efficacy giving a large group of people the determined dose and see if there still is an effect, 3) Finally you compare this with a standard of care (the thing you normally do) with your new stuff in a double blind study (which means you, nor the patient knows beforehand what the treatment is going to be and see if you see a different cure rate.

You might say, if it is so good we want it now. I can say the process described above goes faster the bigger the difference is with the standard of care.

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