pioneering new cancer treatment for inoperable tumours in the lungs, kidney,
liver, breast, prostate or pancreas is now available at the Princess Grace
Hospital in London. The first procedure
of its kind in the UK, utilising Nanoknife on
a lung tumour, was carried out at the hospital.
technique called NanoKnife destroys soft tissue tumours with an electric
current, minimising the risk of damage to nearby organs or blood vessels.
the last 20 years, patients with inoperable cancers have been given
radiofrequency ablation therapy which heats up the tumour and literally ‘cooks’
it until the cancer cells die.
this treatment has its limitations and is not suitable for patients with
tumours near major blood vessels.
circumvents these problems by using a 3,000 volt electric current rather than
heat to destroy the cancer.
requires no cuts or incisions. Two disposable fine needles are simply guided
through the skin by ultrasound or CT scans to the tumour and then a strong
electric current is passed through it for two minutes.
entire procedure – administering the anaesthetic, guiding the needles in,
carrying out the actual treatment and removing the needles – takes around 45
minutes, and is performed under general anaesthetic.
Dr Edward Lean, an interventional radiologist who is carrying out the procedure at
the Princess Grace Hospital,
London, explains: “This new technology offers
the most difficult to treat cancer patients who are not suitable for
conventional therapies, an option which could potentially prolong their
survival and with good quality of life.
“Instead of killing a tumour by heating it up, a high voltage electric
current is passed through it instead.
“This targets the tumour at cell level,
perforating the cell membrane and making tiny holes in the cell through which
the contents of the cell leaks out and dies.
“Healthy tissue such as blood vessels, organ
lining or the bowel wall is not affected.
“By perforating the cells, it also
potentially allows chemotherapy – generally administered after the operation –
to work more effectively on the cancer cells.”
having NanoKnife, patients are monitored in hospital overnight and are
generally allowed to go home the next day. There are no major side-effects.
For most patients with advanced cancer, the
procedure will be followed up by a course of chemotherapy.
Private hospital news : 12 June 2012