NanoKnife Technology Targets Cancer at Sylvester
UHealth Uses First Device in Florida
One of the newest weapons in the war on cancer, NanoKnife™, is now in the hands of physicians at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of UHealth – University of Miami Health System. Sylvester/UMHC – University of Miami Hospital and Clinics is the first provider in Florida, and one of only a handful in the world, to offer this new treatment for destroying soft-tissue tumors.
NanoKnife is a minimally invasive cancer treatment that uses a targeted approach to treating hard-to-reach tumors at the cellular level. It works by delivering electrical energy directly into tumors, which opens the walls of the tumor, killing the cancer cells.
“The NanoKnife allows us to offer cancer patients an effective treatment for selected primary tumors that are considered inoperable,” says Govindarajan Narayanan, M.D., chief of vascular interventional radiology. NanoKnife is also used in cases where tumors have spread from cancer in other parts of the body to the liver, kidneys and lungs.
As a minimally invasive ablation technology, NanoKnife is able to target tumor tissue while sparing healthy tissue such as nerves, blood vessels and bile ducts. Interventional radiologists use a CT scan or ultrasound to guide them in precisely placing electrodes in the tumor. Once the electrodes are inserted, the NanoKnife uses irreversible electroporation (IRE) to send electrical pulses directly to the tumor.
For patients, there are a number of benefits. Treatment requires only a brief hospital stay, with some patients returning home the same day. Patients undergo general anesthesia and experience little pain. Because NanoKnife spares healthy tissue and causes few side effects, treatments can be repeated if new lesions develop.
The benefits are especially attractive to doctors like David M. Levi, M.D., professor of clinical surgery at the Miami Transplant Institute. He says the NanoKnife “represents the next generation of minimally invasive technologies developed to destroy malignant tumors.” Levi hopes to integrate it into the arsenal “of treatment options available to effectively help our patients with liver cancer.”
Narayanan says in addition to its precision, NanoKnife’s real power “lies in the hands of the highly specialized physicians who will be employing it.” Patients who are treated at Sylvester will benefit from the site-based approach to cancer, where a team of experts specialize in specific types of cancer.
NanoKnife is FDA approved for use in all soft-tissue organs, and Sylvester physicians will be using it to treat tumors that develop in the liver, lung and kidneys.