Minimally invasive lung cancer trial underway at Royal Brompton

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A new trial at Royal Brompton Hospital, part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, is using microwave energy to destroy lung cancers in hard-to-reach locations in the lungs.

A new device, Microblate Flex, from medical device company, Creo Medical, is fed through a tube through the patient’s mouth directly to the site in their lungs where a suspected cancer is identified from a CT scan.

Microwave energy is administered to the cancerous tissue in the lungs which precisely kills the cells in the treatment area, ablating the tumour. In the first patient treated as part of the study, the medical team was able to ablate the tumour measuring 11mm within three minutes.

Professor Pallav Shah, consultant respiratory physician at Royal Brompton Hospital, said: “This current trial aims to treat lung cancer patients who have small or hard-to-reach lung nodules which are suspected of being cancerous.

“In the patients which we have treated so far with this device, we have seen generally good results but we are still relatively early on with the research.”

Patients on this study are not eligible for cancer surgery, which is regarded as the gold standard for lung cancer treatment. For them, their current treatment option would be radiotherapy, something which can lead to a number of side effects including developing inflammation of the lung which leads to breathlessness.

This new method of treating lung cancers with microwave energy has the potential to offer benefits over radiotherapy by reducing the number of side effects.

Future research using this device and technology will look at the effectiveness of microwave ablation for patients who would be eligible for lung cancer surgery.

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