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Interventional Radiology: NanoKnife®
Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) recently introduced the NanoKnife® System, a minimally invasive option for patients with tumors in challenging or high-risk locations, such as the liver, pancreas or kidney.
Instead of using microwave energy, extreme heat or extreme cold, the NanoKnife System uses electrical currents to destroy cancerous tumors.
How Does NanoKnife Work?
While the patient is under general anesthesia, the interventional radiologist carefully guides up to six thin needles (electrodes) into the patient’s body and strategically places them around the tumor.
Then, the NanoKnife System sends electrical pulses or currents between each set of needles to puncture permanent nanometer-sized holes into the tumor. This process, called irreversible electroporation (IRE), causes the cancer cells to be unbalanced and triggers a cell “suicide,” thereby destroying the tumor.
The electrical pulses are contained between the electrodes, minimizing damage to surrounding healthy cell tissue, blood vessels and other important structures. After the tumor is destroyed, the body naturally rids itself of the dead cells, which are replaced with healthy cells.
The procedure lasts from two to four hours. After the procedure, the patient is hospitalized overnight for observation and typically discharged the following day. The patient is also given antibiotics before and after the procedure to prevent infection.
Potential Benefits of NanoKnife
NanoKnife provides a minimally invasive option for patients with inoperable or difficult-to-reach tumors, including tumors located near critical structures in the body, such as the gallbladder, bile ducts, bowel and major blood vessels.
Instead of using extreme heat or cold, which could damage normal adjacent tissues, the NanoKnife System uses electrical currents to destroy cancerous tumors.
The following are potential benefits of treatment with the NanoKnife System:
- No open incisions
- Less damage to healthy tissue
- Minimal postoperative pain
- Reduced side effects
- Short hospital stay
- Quick recovery
- Ability to repeat the procedure if new tumors develop
Cancer Types Treated with NanoKnife
NanoKnife can be used to treat patients with liver, pancreatic and kidney cancers, as well as patients with tumors in or near the retroperitoneum, adrenal glands, lymph nodes, pelvic region or other soft tissue masses.
A patient with a primary or metastatic tumor that is considered inoperable, and is typically less than three centimeters, may be eligible for NanoKnife.
NanoKnife may also be a promising option for patients with limited treatment options or if other treatments have failed. Patients with a cardiac pacemaker, abnormal heartbeat, or nerve stimulators are not eligible for this procedure.
Where is NanoKnife Being Offered?
In July 2012, CTCA at Eastern Regional Medical Center (Eastern) in Philadelphia became the first CTCA hospital to add the NanoKnife System to its treatment options. Additionally, Eastern is one of a few dozen cancer hospitals in the country, and the first in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, to offer the technology.
CTCA at Midwestern Regional Medical Center, our hospital in Zion, Illinois, is also offering NanoKnife.
- Abscess Drainage and Fluid Collection Management
- Arterial Infusion Catheter Placement
- Biliary Drainage (internal / external stent placement)
- Bland Tumor Embolization
- Bone and Joint Injection
- Breast Ductography
- Breast Needle Localization
- Celiac Plexus Neurolysis (CPN) / Celiac Plexus Block
- Chest Tube Placement
- Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
- CT Angiography
- CT Bone Density
- CT Fluoroscopy
- CT-Guided Biopsy
- Emobolization Venography
- Epidural Steroid Injection
- Feeding Tube Placement
- GE Interventional Radiology Suite
- Hepatic Chemoembolization
- Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filter Placement
- Innova IGS 540 Interventional Radiology Suite
- Intraoperative Ultrasound
- IVC Filter Placement
- Lung Nodule Analysis
- Lymph Node Biopsy
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Mammography Suite
- Microwave Ablation
- MR Computer-Aided Detection (CAD)
- MRI-Guided Breast Biopsy
- Multidetector CT Scanner
- Multiple-Gated Acquisition (MUGA) Scan
- Nerve Block
- Nerve Root Block
- Percutaneous Gastrostomy / Gastrojejunostomy
- Percutaneous Image-Guided Biopsy
- Percutaneous Nephroureteral Stenting
- Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC) Placement
- PET Scan
- Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
- Port Placement
- Portal Vein Embolization
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan
- Prostascint® Scan
- Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
- Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
- SPECT/CT Camera for Nuclear Studies
- Stent Placement / Removal
- Surgical Radiography
- Transhepatic Biliary Drainage and Internal Stenting
- Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt (TIPS)
- Trellis® Peripheral Infusion System
- Ureteral Stenting
- Vascular Access Devices
- Venous Angioplasty / Stenting
- Vertebroplasty / Vertebral Ablation (see Kyphoplasty)