A little knife takes a stab at big medical problems
It's called the nanoknife – technology that delivers an electric charge inside the body to destroy tumours. It is used at the University of Miami's Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Centre.
Dr. Govindarajan Narayanan, an interventional radiologist says, "The way we do it is with imaging guidance, and we use very thin needles or electrodes, probes as we call them. We place them in the vicinity of the tumor – usually around it, and its connected to a generator."
That generator delivers high-voltage electrical current through the probes.
"And what the current does is it makes multiple nano-sized holes in the tumour, in the cell membrane, thereby killing the tumor cells."
The patient in this case is 67-year-old Maria Gomez. They're treating a tumor in her liver. She says, "They had recommended early on that I have a liver transplant, and I didn't really want a liver transplant now. So secondly, they recommended this."
Five weeks after her procedure, Gomez has a CAT scan to see if the nanoknife has a made a difference.
She says, "The lesion is gone?" The doctor told her, "The lesion, I don't see any."
"It's beyond elation," says Gomez. "Just feeling very grateful to God, and Dr. Narayanan and his team, just for being so lucky that I can be helped."
So far, only a handful of patients have been treated with the nanoknife here: all have had liver tumors. In the future, doctors will expand its use to include kidney and lung tumors as well.