New Minimally Invasive, MRI-guided Laser Treatment for Glioblastoma Found to Be Promising in Study


Key Points

  • NeuroBlate is a specially designed laser probe system that uses a minimally invasive, MRI-guided laser system to coagulate brain tumors.
  • The procedure was well tolerated in a phase I trial of patients with inoperable or high-risk glioblastoma, and response and survival was nearly 10.5 months, better than expected.

The NeuroBlate Thermal Therapy System provides a new, safe, and minimally invasive procedure for treating recurrent glioblastoma, according to the first-in-human study of the system. The study, published online today in the Journal of Neurosurgery, was written by lead author Andrew Sloan, MD, Director of Brain Tumor and Neuro-oncology Center at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center and Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, who also served as co–Principal Investigator, as well as Principal Investigator Gene Barnett, MD, Director of the Brain Tumor and Neuro-oncology Center at Cleveland Clinic and Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, and colleagues from UH, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Clinic Florida, University of Manitoba, and Case Western Reserve University.

Unique Technology

NeuroBlate (formerly known as AutoLITT) is a specially designed laser probe system that uses a minimally invasive, MRI-guided laser system to coagulate brain tumors. The procedure is conducted in an MRI machine, enabling surgeons to plan, steer, and see in real-time the device, the heat map of the area treated by the laser, and the tumor tissue that has been coagulated.

"This technology is unique in that it allows the surgeon not only to precisely control where the treatment is delivered, but the ability to visualize the actual effect on the tissue as it is happening," said Dr. Sloan. "This enables the surgeon to adjust the treatment continuously as it is delivered, which increases precision in treating the cancer and avoiding surrounding healthy brain tissue."

Study Details

The paper describes the treatment of the first 10 patients in a phase I clinical trial investigating the safety and performance of NeuroBlate.  These patients, who had a median age of 55, had tumors which were diagnosed to be inoperable or "high risk" for open surgical resection because of their location close to vital areas in the brain, or difficult to access with conventional surgery.

"Overall the NeuroBlate procedure was well tolerated," said Dr. Sloan. "All 10 patients were alert and responsive within 1 to 2 hours postoperatively and nine out of the 10 patients were ambulatory within hours. Response and survival was also nearly 10.5 months, better than expected for patients with such advanced disease."

"Previous attempts using less invasive approaches such as brachytherapy and stereotactic radiosurgery have proven ineffective in recent meta-analysis and randomized trials," said Dr. Barnett. "However, unlike therapies using ionizing radiation, NeuroBlate therapy results in tumor death at the time of the procedure. A larger national study will be developed, as a result of this initial success."

The FDA gave NeuroBlate's developer Monteris Medical and the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center an investigatory device exemption to study the system in patients with glioblastomas. The device has recently been cleared by the FDA due, in part, to the results of the study.

Dr. Sloan and Dr. Barnett are paid consultants for Monteris Medical and members of the company's Medical Advisory Board.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.