Focal Therapy/NanoKnife IRE
For men with small, localised prostate tumours, I am investigating focal therapy as a strategy to treat carefully selected men with prostate cancer. The goal is to successfully destroy areas of cancer and minimize side effects.
Focal therapy is a general term for a variety of noninvasive techniques for destroying small tumours inside the prostate while leaving the remaining gland intact and sparing most of its normal tissue. In appropriate situations, focal therapy can offer several advantages for men with early prostate cancer:
- It can effectively destroy specific areas of cancer within the prostate while preserving normal prostate tissue and function.
- Side effects, including changes in urinary and sexual function, may occur less often and may be less severe than those associated with more aggressive treatments.
Tests such as blood tests, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), ultrasound and biopsies are used to confirm the presence and location of the tumour and its suitability for treatment.
Irreversible electroporation is a technique that uses a device called the NanoKnife to pass an electrical current through the tumour. The electricity creates very tiny openings (called pores) in the tumour’s cells, leading to the death of the cells. An ultrasound or a CT scan is used to focus the current precisely on the tumour, sparing blood vessels and other tissues.
To date focal therapy for prostate cancer is unproven and remains an experimental technique with potential risks in cancer outcomes and side effects.