January 27, 2016 — Bestselling author John Grisham has written "The Tumor," a fictional account of how a real medical technology could impact the future of medicine. The short book is about focused ultrasound, a non-invasive therapy with the potential to transform the treatment of a variety of serious medical disorders. The Kindle e-book is available for free on Amazon.
“It’s the most important book I’ve ever written,” said Grisham. “Everyone who is concerned about their health and loved ones should read 'The Tumor' to learn about a breakthrough medical technology. I have found no other cause, issue or charity that can potentially save so many lives.”
"The Tumor" follows the experience of the fictional patient Paul, an otherwise healthy 35-year-old father who is diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Despite receiving current state-of-the-art treatment of invasive brain surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, he passes away nine months after his diagnosis.
Grisham then takes readers to an alternate future, where Paul is diagnosed with the same brain tumor at 35 years old in the year 2025. In this future, doctors utilize focused beams of ultrasound energy to destroy Paul’s tumor without cutting into his skull. They then refocus the ultrasound to the surrounding brain to activate nanoparticles that deliver high concentrations of chemotherapy to the brain while minimizing systemic side effects. Paul is able to go back to his busy life after these procedures. The tumor returns a couple of times, and he is retreated with the same approach. While the tumor will eventually take Paul’s life, focused ultrasound therapy could transform a fatal condition into one that is chronic, but manageable.
Focused ultrasound uses ultrasonic energy guided by real-time imaging to treat tissue deep in the body without incisions or radiation. Multiple intersecting beams of ultrasound are directed and concentrated on a target, much like a magnifying glass can focus multiple beams of light on a single point. Where each individual beam passes through the tissue, there is no effect. But, at the focal point, the convergence of the beams of focused ultrasound energy results in many important biological effects depending on the nature of the tissue and the ultrasound parameters.
“John has been a board member and steadfast supporter of our foundation for years. We are fortunate to have such a noteworthy advocate helping to spread the word about this game-changing therapy,” said Neal F. Kassell, M.D., chairman of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation. “He wants to help ensure that focused ultrasound is part of our future. Though in its infancy, there is great potential for this technology to improve quality of life and decrease cost of care. But progress is too slow, and we want to help make it available sooner to help as many people as possible.”
Grisham wrote "The Tumor" to raise awareness and funds to help the Focused Ultrasound Foundation to accelerate the development and adoption of the technology to improve the lives of millions of people with serious medical disorders. While the book is free, he encourages the public to support the foundation’s programs for research, education and advocacy.
Today, focused ultrasound is approved in the United States to treat uterine fibroids, reduce pain from bone metastases and treat the prostate. Different systems are approved to treat 16 diseases in regions around the world. The technology is in various stages of research and development for more than 50 diseases, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, hypertension and tumors of the brain, liver, breast and pancreas.
For more information: www.thetumor.org