Oncologists at UF Health Cancer Center Orlando Health are deploying NanoKnife as a new weapon in the battle against pancreatic cancer.
NanoKnife gives patients with the most advanced forms of the disease a new treatment option that can significantly improve survival rates. Surgical removal of a tumor gives pancreatic cancer patients the greatest chance of survival but that option is often not possible in locally advanced cases.
Using NanoKnife, oncologists are able to apply a tissue ablation technique called irreversible electroporation (IRE), where a low-current, high-voltage electrical field surrounds the tumor to punch holes in the cancer cell membrane and cause cell death. The electrical current is delivered through probes positioned around the tumor during an open surgical procedure. It affects only the cancer cells, allowing oncologists to treat the tumor while preserving vascular and ductal tissues that surround the pancreas and other vital organs.
The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 53,000 people were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States in 2016. The five-year survival rate for stage III pancreatic cancer is about three percent. Stage IV pancreatic cancer has a 5-year survival rate of about one percent.
Cancer specialists including Debashish Bose, M.D., director of the Pancreas Center at UF Health Cancer Center Orlando Health, believe NanoKnife® IRE offers promise for those late-stage patients who often have few options.
"The results are good in patients receiving NanoKnife IRE treatment at cancer centers across the country. On average, we're seeing no disease progression 14 months after treatment," says Dr. Bose. "We expect to see the same results or better with patients we treat here at Orlando Health. For the right patients, NanoKnife will make a big difference."