There are many rumours about this innovative device since it was introduced. At first, there was just the excitement about the new hope for fighting cancer. IRE – Irreversible electroporation –  a tissue ablation technique – allows a non-surgical elimination of tumours.  Irreversible electroporation is a new non-thermal ablation method consisting of short pulses of an electrical flow through the tumour tissue, causing the irreversible formation of holes (pores) in the cell membrane, leading to the enhanced permeability and ultimately to cell death. It does not cause any inconvenience side effects as chemotherapy, and except entering the electrodes, it is almost non-surgical. It is a new alternative to chemotherapy, radiotherapy and other surgical- and minimally invasive ablative treatments.

The NanoKnife System has received FDA (globally known and respected, very strict American organisation – Food and Drug Administration) clearance for the surgical ablation of soft tissue. It means it is considered safe and effective in this area of use. Unfortunately yet,  it has not received clearance for the therapy or treatment of any particular disease or condition – like a specific type of cancer -use of this technology in organs is currently an off-label application. The clinical researches and trials are going on, but it takes many years unless the outcomes are published. During early tests, NanoKnife gave very promising results – the usage of IRE almost doubled the survival with pancreatic cancer (the most difficult to treat) and gave even more incredible effects with prostate cancer treatment – more than 60-70% of Patients got positive treatment outcome, with very few side effects. There are some negative Patients opinions – the treatment is usually expensive and, as it is not popular, often Families find it as a treatment option when it is too late, and cancer has expanded into metastases. Sometimes due to the inadequate doctor knowledge or an (inexcusable) greed, the NanoKnife therapy is used too late or without the proper qualification. By now the IRE treatment is mostly used as a standard chemo supplementation; however, it would be ideal to start the course of therapy with the IRE procedure.

Using the NanoKnife device carries out a risk of infection (any time you insert a needle or another medical tool into the body), there are also risks of bleeding and fistula formation. Additionally, the procedure carries some risk of precipitating an irregular heartbeat.

Despite all known imperfections and limitations of each innovative technology, IRE, without a doubt, is a crucial tool in the range of treatment options for prostate cancer. The growing interest in the IRE technology is confirmed by the 2000-2500 performed surgeries around the world using NanoKnife, 900-1100 including liver tumours, 500-700  pancreatic tumours, 100-200 kidney tumours, and about 100-200 relates to the so-called treatments of other locations such as lung tumours.

There are many great advantages of treating specific cancer types with NanoKnife device:

  • New treatment option for Patients with a difficult location of the cancer change.
  • Extension of the chemo treatment,
  • Possibility to perform the procedure without a complicated surgery,
  • Short stay in the clinic,
  • Painless procedure,
  • No hair loss, no impotence, no urethra,
  • No negative influence on other tissues,;
  • Real-time ablation screening under USG or CT.
  • It does not destroy collagen scaffold structure
  • The tissues reparation process lasts shorter than two weeks
  • The body absorbs the destroyed tissues during several weeks.

In a clinical trial (2015) selected patients with localised prostate cancer, focal IRE appears to be safe with minimal morbidity. There were no infield recurrences, and 76% of patients were histologically free of significant cancer at 8 months. It shows an unusual in prostate cancer treatment efficacy.

Unfortunately, the accessibility to the IRE treatment is quite low, and it is only available in private clinics. It may be a good idea to find a proper NanoKnife treatment abroad, but with consideration of the following things: the experience of the doctor as well as if the clinic owes a special ward intended for this kind of treatment.

Please find some more information on the procedure itself as well as the possibility of the NanoKnife IRE therapy in prostate cancer treatment, liver cancer treatment and pancreatic cancer treatment by clicking the link below: