Improving cancer treatments

Liver cancer incidence rates have increased overall in Great Britain since the mid-1970s.  Resection (removing part of an organ) is theoretically an ideal method for treating liver cancer as the liver can regenerate, but it causes extensive blood loss.  
The Bioengineering team developed a bipolar electrode system that employs RF current to coagulate a track in the liver; the track can then be cut without bleeding.

Our research has led to:

  1. Prototypes successfully tested in pre-clinical and clinical trials.
  2. 20,000 single-use devices (value: US$40M) sold under licence by AngioDynamics, with an estimated saving of >800 lives.
  3. A dramatic reduction in complications, intensive care, blood transfusions, and hospital stay.
  4. Many further bipolar devices developed and in current clinical use.  Sold by Imperial spin-out Emcision:
  • Hexablate: a hexagonal array of needles developed for ablating liver tumours.  This device treats a larger area of tissue over a shorter time than monopolar devices and the tumour periphery where metastatic cells preferentially reside.
  • Vescoag: a device developed to block blood vessels, removing the blood supply to the tumour.
  • EndoHPB: a device developed to maintain the patency of ducts during pancreatic and biliary cancers ensuring the patient is strong enough to benefit from chemotherapy.