The world of cancer research and treatments is moving so quickly that it can be difficult to keep track of every promising new development. Every once in a while, however, a breakthrough technology can generate results large enough to attract real attention. A 2015 study into the effects of irreversible electroporation, also known as IRE or NanoKnife surgery, found that pancreatic cancer patients who combined this treatment with traditional chemotherapy saw a greatly increased survival rate compared to the average. But what is it about NanoKnife treatments that gives its patients such an edge?
Exploring the NanoKnife Process
More and more, doctors and surgeons are seeking ways to destroy cancerous tissues without needing to resort to manual surgery. NanoKnife procedures accomplish this by using thin, precise needles, guided by a probe, to surround the offending cells. Then a current of electricity is run through the needles at the right frequency to destroy damaged tissues and turn the tumor against itself, all while ignoring the healthy organs, blood vessels, and bones nearby. Once the needles are removed, the procedure is done and the tumor can be monitored to ensure that it withers and eventually dies as planned.
Avoiding the Risk and Stress of Surgery
Pancreatic cancer in particular is notoriously difficult to treat, thanks to the centralized location and overall importance of the pancreas for daily functioning. Besides the cancer itself weakening the patient, pancreatic surgery can take many hours under sedation and has the potential to cause serious complications on its own. Rather than cause even more damage to a recovering patient, NanoKnife technology offers a short and relatively comfortable recovery time, with many patients up and moving again within a couple of days. This procedure benefits not only those with pancreatic cancer but also helps patients avoid mastectomies, lobectomies, and other invasive tumor-removal surgeries.
Hunting Down Cancerous Cells
Even the most precise surgeon will likely remove some healthy tissues during a routine tumor extraction, and some tumors are simply too complex to be removed safely. NanoKnife surgery may provide hope to patients with previously inoperable tumors, since the needles used can be manipulated to reach most areas of the body without the need for real knives. Better yet, because of the reduced recovery time, patients should be able to undergo the procedure again if the cancer is not entirely eliminated, so doctors can catch what's left before the cancer can spread again. By targeting only the destructive tissues and leaving healthy systems in place, this form of cancer treatment shows real promise for the future and is gaining more widespread acceptance in the United States. For hospitals and other cancer treatment centers looking to offer cutting-edge technologies to their patients without the actual cutting edges, NanoKnife surgery and IRE may very well be the preferred method of the future.
Talk to a professional such as ATLAS ONCOLOGY for more information.