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:
- Prototypes successfully tested in pre-clinical and clinical trials.
- 20,000 single-use devices (value: US$40M) sold under licence by AngioDynamics, with an estimated saving of >800 lives.
- A dramatic reduction in complications, intensive care, blood transfusions, and hospital stay.
- 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.