In 2005, when Novocure designed its first generation Optune system to begin conducting clinical trials, the team spearheading the project knew that someday it would be possible to advance the technology further. Mike Ambrogi, Novocure’s Chief Operating Officer, said the next evolution of the device hinged on advancements in signal amplification technology.
Over the next several years, Novocure’s Vice President of Engineering Yoram Wasserman kept the idea of a lighter and smaller device in mind until signal amplification technology had come far enough to make enhancements. The advancements would switch Optune from analog amplification to digital amplification, which would allow for a more efficient system and a dramatic reduction in weight and size. Yoram and his team began designing the software and hardware for second generation Optune system.
Novocure’s engineers created a system that was half the size and less than half the weight of the first generation Optune system. Including its battery, the second generation Optune system weighs 2.7 pounds, compared to the first generation system that weighs 6 pounds.
Novocure started offering second generation Optune system to GBM patients in Germany in October 2015 and then made it available to all new patients in Europe. In July 2016, the U.S. FDA approved second generation Optune system for GBM patients in the U.S.
Mike recalled the relief he felt when the project was completed.
“The ability to make it smaller and lighter is such a benefit to make the treatment more accessible,” Mike said. “Second generation Optune system is a symbol of what we can do and a precursor of things to come.”