Science & tech

Destroying tumours with next-generation ablation

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) can destroy solid tumours without the need for invasive surgery. At the forefront is NHS Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital spin-out company Ablatus Therapeutics. Abi Millar finds out how a new take on this old technology could disrupt the tumour treatment space. 

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), in which heat is used to destroy targeted tissue, has been in common use for decades. First performed in patients as early as the 1930s, the technique has been used to treat everything from atrial fibrillation to varicose veins.

Unsurprisingly, for a technique that can ‘cook’ undesired cells, it is also used extensively within cancer treatment. While it is not generally deployed as the only mode of treatment, it can provide a viable alternative to surgery in certain patients.

The technique is often used to destroy tumours in the lungs, kidneys, liver and bones (both primary tumours and metastases). As well as boasting a similar success rate to surgery, it is quick and minimally invasive, taking around ten to 15 minutes in total.

“Prior to this technology, patients with a tumour would have to have it removed via laparotomy, which would increase the risk to the patient and recovery time as well as extra costs to the healthcare provider,” says Heather Carré-Skinner, head of regulatory affairs at Ablatus Therapeutics.

Read the rest of this article in the August 2019 edition of Medical Technology

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