In 2011 Megan Shultz was diagnosed with a brain tumor after having multiple seizures and passing out.
At the time of diagnosis she was pregnant with her son, Liam. Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic told Schultz that she would have to wait until her son was born to undergo surgery to remove a brain tumor.
After the surgery she underwent rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. Unfortunately, less than two years later her brain tumor returned.
In 2013 Schultz was aware that she was in need of a second surgery, so she opted for a laser treatment called Neuroblate.
Neuroblate treatment is a laser which is a couple millimeters in size. It is directed into the tumor and then the neurosurgeon controls the laser with an MRI. Essentially the laser heats the tumor in an effort to kill it.
The idea of “cooking” a tumor is not new, unfortunately early approaches posed challenges with limiting the laser energy only to tumors. Neuroblate allows the surgeon to “steer” and monitor the effects of the laser beam.
This treatment is minimally invasive compared to conventional open surgery. It takes place with the patient in an MRI machine.
The treatment can take up to 10 hours depending on the size of the tumor. Recovery however appears to be shorter than with traditional surgery. Schultz was able to go home after only 2 days.
Schultz felt extremely tired for a few days, she felt very little pain, and was back to work in 5 weeks. She claims that is was considerably more emotionally taxing than physically taxing.
Neuroblate is also less expensive than traditional surgery.
This treatment is currently only used on patients who have already had surgery to remove a brain tumor or have an inoperable tumor.
Today Schultz is cancer-free and able to enjoy time with her family.
Neuroblate was approved by the FDA in 2012 but has only recently been used more widely. It was a follow up system to AutoLITT which was approved by the FDA in 2009.
Cancer centers round the U.S. are starting clinical trials to the efficacy of Neuroblate as a first-line treatment on newly diagnosed patients.