Regional Medical Imaging, in conjunction with The West Clinic in Memphis announced a clinical trial to test cryoablation treatment for primary breast cancer. The study is recruiting women 65 and older with small tumors (less than 1.5 cm) in a total of 100 patients.
Cryoablation uses extreme cold to kill (“ablate”) cancer cells. A probe filled with liquid nitrogen, able to reach -40 Celsius degrees, is placed into the tumor using ultrasound to guide the cryoprobe and avoid damage to healthy tissue. The tumor is then exposed to cycles of freeze and thaw from inside-out causing cancer cells to die. Cellular debris are naturally absorbed by the immune system over time. One major advantage of the technique is the pain killer effect of the cold enabling cryoablation to be done using only local anesthesia.
The procedure, which takes around 30 minutes, has been used with other tumors as an alternative to surgery. “It’s been used in other cancers like liver, lung, and prostate in the past. But this is a new trial for treating women with early state breast cancer. A non-surgical manner,” said Richard Fine of The West Clinic.
Compared to traditional surgery, cryoablation is less invasive, less expensive and risky, has faster recovery and improved cosmetic results, resulting in greater patient comfort. However, long-term effectiveness of the technique is still uncertain. “Right now, we’re focusing on tumors that are small in older women that have very favorable biology, and we want to prove that it works here,” Fine said.
This treatment works well in patients already treated with the innovative IceSense3 cryoablation system. “Older women especially usually have other problems, and being put to sleep for a couple of hours is not what you want to do. And so this has very few side effects and it’s got a good prognosis to me,” said Jean Raymond, a 76 year-old who was treated with cryoablation at the West Clinic.
With U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, cryoabalation can offer women who do not have very aggressive tumors a non-surgical option. “I think it’s important for the community and for the women in the community to have people here who continually push for new treatments, new technology, bringing new and innovative passion to the treatment be uses as treatment of breast cancer because it’s such a common problem-just so common,” said Randy Hicks, the Owner and CEO of RMI.