West Cancer Center first to debut new FDA-approved cancer treatment in country

Updated: Sep. 26, 2019 at 6:00 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - West Cancer Center is the first in the country to use a newly FDA-approved electric therapy treatment for mesothelioma patients.

The cancer treatment is the first of its kind and is debuting right here in the Mid-South.

The cancer is aggressive and rare. Mesothelioma’s prognosis is deadly. People diagnosed with the lung cancer often only live another two years.

“Because it is such a rare cancer, there has been little research opportunities to advance science and treatment of mesothelioma,” said Dr. Moon Fenton, West Cancer Center hematologist.

For the past 15 years, mesothelioma was treated with a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Now there is a fourth option, the NovoTTF- 100.

Using the three pads attached to the front and back of a person’s chest, electric fields target and disrupt tumor cells stopping the growth. And at the same time, sparing the healthy cells in the body.

“This treatment is not invasive, and has minimal side effects,” said Dr. Yuefeng Wang, West Cancer Center radiation oncologist.

Dr. Yuefeng Wang is among the doctors at West Cancer Center treating the first mesothelioma patient in the country using the new technology. His patient will wear the device for 18 hours a day.

“We are looking at 97 percent disease control at year one. So, patients who are using this technology in addition to the chemotherapy actually have stable disease or great response to treatment,” said Dr. Fenton.

Since 2015, the device has been used to treat certain brain tumors.

“It’s now being tested on other types of cancer including ovarian cancer pancreatic cancer as well as small cell long cancer,” said Dr. Wang.

The innovative treatment is not seen as a cure right now but a way for patients to live longer with the disease.

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