Advancing Ablative Tumor Therapies Into Primary Treatments
This article was originally published in Start Up
For many cancers, there is a need for a third option between the two current choices of radical tissue destruction and watchful waiting. New cancer ablation devices in development have the potential to fill that gap. Ablative tumor therapies can play a role in eradication of early-stage and localized tumors, as salvage therapies in patients who've failed other therapies, and for patients whose health precludes surgery or further radiation. Ablation has many advantages. It's a cost-effective and minimally invasive alternative to robotic surgery or radiation devices, and may lead to fewer side effects and complications than current primary tumor treatments. But proving that ablation can save lives compared to more radical forms of therapy requires clinical evidence from multiyear outcome trials that few smaller companies are willing to invest in. There's little evidence to date that venture investors will see returns. But the race is on among companies hoping to become the first device approved for low-risk, localized prostate cancer, a potentially game-changing event.
You may also be interested in...
It will be the second time this year that the Gastroenterology and Urology Devices Panel reviews a high intensity focused ultrasound system intended for prostate cancer. SonaCare is surely hoping for a better showing for its Sonablate 450 than EDAP experienced last month with its Ablatherm HIFU.
Research into the use of image-guided focused ultrasound (IgFUS) as a noninvasive therapeutic modality is starting to achieve the kind of critical mass - in clinical outcomes data and R&D investment - necessary to win the interest and support of clinicians, payors, and regulators. Although there is still a good distance to travel before the technology achieves a routine place in the therapeutic toolkit, IgFUS is clearly an up-and-coming field in the medical device arena, and many believe it has the potential to revolutionize the treatment paradigm in a number of clinical areas.
Current embolic therapies for cancer have one major drawback. When they're introduced into a vessel through a catheter, reflux often occurs along the catheter, sending the medication backward into another vessel and into non-targeted tissue. The safety of these could greatly improve with Surefire Medical's new embolic therapy catheter. Surefire's initial therapeutic target is liver cancer.