Discovering YOU Magazine May 2018 Issue - Page 15

HEALTH MATTERS

Science Fiction or Fact? New Treatments for Diseases like Cancer:

A different approach to cancer treatment

Article by Eilon Kirson

(BPT) - If bioelectronic medicine sounds futuristic, it's because many of its applications operate like something out of a science fiction movie. But at its core, bioelectronic medicine is simply the use of technology to treat disease and injury.

Some applications include tools that you're probably already familiar with, like cochlear implants and cardiac pacemakers. When these technologies were first introduced, they were considered revolutionary. While still important advancements, they are now commonplace instruments in a doctor's toolbox.

Bioelectronic medicine can involve implanting a device that impacts neural signals which could impact a variety of inflammatory diseases from rheumatoid arthritis to Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and more. There is ongoing research into whether such stimulation could potentially impact paralysis as well. It can also be used as a way to assess and track diseases like diabetes.

As the field continues to evolve, newer applications in bioelectronic medicine continue to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Take, for example, Tumor Treating Fields, a therapy that utilizes the natural electrical properties of dividing cancer cells to treat cancer without many of the life-altering side effects associated with other traditional treatments.

Patients wear a device that creates electric fields tuned to specific frequencies to disrupt cell division, inhibiting tumor growth and causing

"Bioelectronic treatments not only have the benefit of typically causing fewer side effects, but there is also room to improve the treatment through engineering."