1. Most Discussed
  2. Gainers & Losers

First Australian use of 'neutron bomb for tumour cells' on cancer in pancreas

  1. birdman29

    13,244 Posts.
    First Australian use of 'neutron bomb for tumour cells' on cancer in pancreas

    February 8, 2015

    Australian doctors are "zapping" difficult to reach tumours with electric currents in the hope it will cure some cancers or stem their growth.

    Last month, Sydney man Adel Hanna became the first person in Australia to have a tumour in his pancreas treated with the technique known as the "nanoknife" during surgery at Epworth Freemasons Hospital in Melbourne.

    The treatment usually involves two thin needles being inserted into a tumour so high-voltage electric currents can be passed through them. The pulses - delivered in between heartbeats to prevent the heart from being shocked - kill the tumour cells, leaving the body to naturally replace them with healthy tissue.

    Director of radiology at the Alfred Hospital, Ken Thomson, said the technology was exciting because unlike other cancer treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, it did not tend to damage other parts of the body.

    "It's kind of like a neutron bomb for tumour cells," he said. "The main benefit is that there is no collateral damage."

    While the nanoknife has been used to treat hundreds of kidney and liver tumours in a trial at the Alfred Hospital without surgery being required to open people up, Professor Thomson said Mr Hanna's tumour was so precariously positioned across his pancreas, he had to be operated on to properly expose it to the electrodes.

    After getting the experimental operation approved by an ethics committee, Professor Thomson said surgeon Neil Collier agreed to operate on Mr Hanna at Epworth. He said the two-hour procedure had gone very well.

    "It was really new. We've never done that before ... we're hoping his tumour will certainly stop growing and hopefully it will shrink," he said.

    Mr Hanna said he was thrilled to find doctors willing to use the technique on him because six months ago, he was told that nothing more could be done and that he might have six months to a year to live.

    The devastating news sparked a global search for more options, leading him to Professor Thomson.

    While Mr Hanna was scared of having an experimental procedure, he was relieved to hear that 80 to 90 per cent of his tumour had been eliminated by the "nanoknife" which is also called Irreversible Electroporation (IRE).

    "I feel so much better ... This could open up a whole new ball game," he said.

    After living day to day before the operation, Mr Hanna said he was now confident of attending his son's wedding in March and enjoying more time with his family.

    "I think it shows you should never give up," he said.

    Professor Thomson said while his unit at the Alfred was performing the technique on suitable patients from time to time, there was not enough evidence to make it a first-line treatment for people with cancer yet.

    "We'd like to see it used more widely when we have more data to prove to people that it's more appropriate [than other treatments], he said.


Before making any financial decisions based on what you read, always consult an advisor or expert.

The HotCopper website is operated by Report Card Pty Ltd. Any information posted on the website has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and as such, you should before acting on the information or advice, consider the appropriateness of the information or advice in relation to your objectives, financial situation or needs. Please be aware that any information posted on this site should not be considered to be financial product advice.

From time to time comments aimed at manipulating other investors may appear on these forums. Posters may post overly optimistic or pessimistic comments on particular stocks, in an attempt to influence other investors. It is not possible for management to moderate all posts so some misleading and inaccurate posts may still appear on these forums. If you do have serious concerns with a post or posts you should report a Terms of Use Violation (TOU) on the link above. Unless specifically stated persons posting on this site are NOT investment advisors and do NOT hold the necessary licence, or have any formal training, to give investment advice.


Thank you for visiting HotCopper

We have detected that you are running ad blocking software.

HotCopper relies on revenue generated from advertisers. Kindly disable your ad blocking software to return to the HotCopper website.

I understand, I have disabled my ad blocker. Let me in!

Need help? Click here for support.