News | January 11, 2010

CT, Ultrasound Guide Irreversible Electroporation Use on Lung Tumor

January 11, 2010 - Interventional radiologists at Baptist Health Medical Center - Little Rock, Ark., recently became one of the first physicians in the U.S. to performed a technique, which uses an electric current instead of heat or freezing to permanently open cell membrane pores in the tumor, using irreversible electroporation (IRE). The IRE method does not require any chemotherapy.

Doctors were able to apply the technique using a new image-guided interventional NanoKnife to treat a malignant nodule within the lung. The system delivers electricity to the target cells. Once the cell membrane pores are opened, the tumor cells begin to die. The interventional radiologist uses imaging-guidance ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) imaging to insert probes into the tumor area. When the NanoKnife probes are in place, the physician then delivers high-voltage electrical pulses through the tumor. The tumor cells receiving the electrical pulses will open their microscopic pores permanently, which ultimately causes the cells to die, dissolve and be removed by the body’s natural processes.

"IRE is a remarkable new minimally-invasive cancer treatment that kills tumors in a completely new way," said David Hays, M.D., section chief, Interventional Radiology Department at Baptist Health. "The tumor cells are killed, but the surrounding framework of the organ is left intact. IRE expands our options for interventional oncology treatments and further enables our collaboration with medical professionals to provide the best possible treatment for our patients with cancer."

David Hays, M.D., indicated that electroporation had been used before to temporarily open tumor cells, allowing chemotherapy to enter individual cells and kill them from the inside, but the IRE method does not require any chemotherapy. “Using the NanoKnife during an IRE procedure allows us to be more precise and much faster and causes less damage to normal surrounding structures,” said Dr. Hays.

The NanoKnife was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for surgical ablation of soft tissue and is manufactured by AngioDynamics.

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