NanoKnife at UF Health Cancer Center – Orlando Health

A new break-through technology at UF Health Cancer Center – Orlando Health

Patients with pancreatic cancer, liver cancer or other tumors not safely treatable by traditional methods now have a new option in Central Florida — the NanoKnife. UF Health Cancer Center — Orlando Health is the first surgical center in Central Florida to provide this leading edge technology that destroys soft-tissue tumors, including those that have spread to the liver, pancreas, kidneys and lungs.

What is NanoKnife?

NanoKnife is the trade name for a device that can ablate (destroy) vital tissue by means of a process called “irreversible electroporation,” which uses bursts of high voltage to penetrate cell membranes, causing them to die. The device is approved by the FDA for surgical ablation of soft tissue.

Patients with advanced pancreatic cancer treated by NanoKnife have also demonstrated a longer survival rate. A study of the use of NanoKnife in 200 surgeries at six surgical centers showed that the survival rate of advanced pancreatic cancer reached close to 24 months, nearly double the survival rate with the latest chemotherapy and radiation treatments.[1]

Who Is a Candidate for NanoKnife?

Your oncologist can determine if you are a candidate for the NanoKnife procedure. This technology is most appropriate for:

  • Pancreatic cancer patients with limited treatment options or for whom other treatments have failed
  • Patients who have already had surgery, or who may have had all the chemotherapy they can have, but cancer has reoccurred
  • Patients with small tumors, typically less than 5 centimeters, that are considered inoperable or where radiation therapy is not an option

Patients with a cardiac pacemaker, abnormal heartbeat or nerve stimulators are not eligible for this procedure.

How Does the NanoKnife Procedure Work?

Instead of using traditional surgical procedures or radiation therapy, which could damage surrounding tissue, the NanoKnife uses electrical currents to precisely target and destroy hard-to-reach cancerous tumors. Electrodes placed into the patient’s body send electrical pulses directly into the tumor. The electrical pulses open the cell walls of the tumor and cause the cancer cells to be unbalanced, triggering a cell “suicide” and destroying the tumor. Tissue, veins and nerves within the targeted areas are largely unaffected by the process. 

After the tumor is destroyed, the body naturally rids itself of the dead cells. Healthy cells and tissue regenerate within the area through the body’s own natural ability to heal.

Next Steps

To learn if you are a candidate for the NanoKnife procedure, consult your oncologist or request an appointment.