First Mesothelioma Treatment in 15 Years Approved

May 24, 2019 -- The FDA has approved the first new treatment in 15 years for an aggressive form of lung cancer.

The device, the NovoTTF-100L System made by Novocure, uses electric fields to stop solid tumors from mesothelioma from dividing.

Mesothelioma is a rare but aggressive cancer strongly associated with asbestos exposure.

The new device was approved under the Humanitarian Device Exemption, which was created to encourage innovation in rare diseases.

Mary Hesdorffer, a nurse practitioner and executive director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, says the approval is a new option. "Typically, mesothelioma patients who cannot have surgery receive palliative care to mitigate their symptoms,” she says in a statement. The new treatment gives patients “a treatment option that may improve survival."

The FDA approved Optune, another Novocure device, for the treatment of a kind of brain cancer, glioblastoma, in 2011.