What is the Nanoknife?

NanoKnife® is one of the most advanced cancer treatment tools based on the principle of Irreversible Electroporation (IRE). Thermal ablation therapies that use extreme temperatures to kill cancerous cells have been used in cancer treatments. However, these treatments have disadvantages like longer treatment times and damage to healthy cells. NanoKnife® is the first ablation technique based on IRE that uses high-voltage electricity to create a strong electric field around the tumour cells and kills them. While killing cancer cells, Nanoknife spares vital and delicate structures like the blood vessels, nerves, ligaments, tendons, ducts and sphincters.

NanoKnife® is a minimally invasive cancer treatment tool highly effective in cases where the tumour has poor access, and surgery may not be an option.

Types of Cancers Treated with Nanoknife

NanoKnife® is a relatively new procedure, and its use in treating different types of cancers is still being studied. So far, IRE has been successful in treating many non-operable soft tissue tumours and metastatic cancers that include tumours of:

    • Lung

    • Prostate

    • Head and neck region

    • Pancreas

    • Kidney

Who Is a Candidate for Nanoknife Treatment?

Despite its many benefits, not every person with cancer is a candidate for NanoKnife® treatment. An ideal candidate for NanoKnife® treatment should have:

    • Tumour located in a specific organ with no systematic metastasis (or spread)

    • Tumours under 3 to 4 cm in size (it worlds best for small tumours though larger tumours can be treated as well)

    • A tumour that is difficult to reach by other treatments and inoperable

NanoKnife® is contraindicated in patients with pacemakers, those with a history of cardiac conditions like irregular heartbeats, extensive spread of cancer in an organ, and severe metastases involving multiple organs.

Nanoknife Procedure

Before a NanoKnife® procedure, your healthcare team will schedule imaging studies like an MRI using contrast dyes. These imaging tests enable your healthcare team to evaluate the size, exact location, position of vital organs and structures and plan the placement of IRE probes.

A NanoKnife® procedure is performed under general anaesthesia, making it comfortable and painless for you. Though the entire procedure takes around 90 minutes to complete, the actual IRE procedure takes just a few minutes.

During the procedure, your doctor will place two to six needles around the tumour that are guided into position using ultrasound or CT Scan. A series of short, strong electric pulses are sent out that damage the cells in the target area, thereby killing cancer cells. All this happens without cuts or incisions, enabling patients to recover quickly with a shorter hospital stay than traditional surgery.

A NanoKnife® IRE procedure is usually performed after three to six months of chemotherapy, with or without radiotherapy. Your healthcare team will perform an imaging follow-up with you after a month of the procedure and evaluate the surgical area.

Benefits of Using NanoKnife® in Cancer Treatment

Benefits of NanoKnife® include:

    • Ability to treat inoperable tumours

    • Minimally invasive procedure

    • Little or no side effects in patients

    • Short hospital stay pose surgery

    • Repeatable procedure in case of new tumours

Side Effects of NanoKnife®

Despite the many benefits of this procedure, NanoKnife® may cause side effects in some people, including:

    • Pain

    • Nausea

    • Heartburn

    • Inflammation of the pancreas

    • Blood clot formation in a vein (rare)

If you are concerned about the risks of the side effects of undergoing NanoKnife® treatment, speak to your doctor about it.

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NanoKnife® system shows exciting potential in treating cancer. Though research is still underway in exploring its uses and evaluating its effects in treating different types of cancer, it has been shown to increase the prognosis and two- and five-year survival rates in some common soft tissue cancers.




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