Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Brain Cancer Health Center

Font Size

FDA Approves New Device for Brain Tumor Treatment

Portable Device Treats Brain Tumors With Electrical Fields
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

April 18, 2011 -- The FDA has approved a new noninvasive portable device for the treatment of a deadly type of brain tumor. The device uses electrical fields to slow and possibly reverse tumor growth.

The device, manufactured by Novocure, is called the NovoTTF-100A System and is meant for adults with glioblastoma multiforme that recurs or progresses after chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Glioblastoma multiforme is a common type of brain cancer, and the tumor is highly resistant to standard treatments, such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, the FDA says in a statement.

Electrodes Placed on Scalp

The new system involves placing electrodes on the patient's scalp to deliver low-intensity electrical fields to the tumor site.

The FDA says the unique shape and electrical characteristics of dividing tumor cells make them susceptible to damage when exposed to the machine's electrical fields and temporarily stop tumor growth.

The device is portable and can be powered with batteries or plugged into an electrical outlet, the FDA says, allowing patients to use it at home and continue normal daily activities.

"Recurrent glioblastoma multiforme is a devastating form of brain cancer that often eludes standard treatments," Jeffrey Shuren, MD, JD, of the FDA, says in a news release.

Shuren, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, says the agency's approval of the device shows its "commitment to innovative new devices that provide patients with other treatment options."

Today on WebMD

doctor and patient
How to know when it’s time for home care
doctory with x-ray
Here are 10 to know.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
Malignant Gliomas
Pets Improve Your Health
Headache Emergencies
life after a brain tumor

Would you consider trying alternative or complementary therapies?