Some doctors question new cancer treatment

The Wall Street Journal | October 5 – Some doctors are raising concerns about a new cancer-treatment device that use electrical jolts to zap tumors but that hasn’t been through a large clinical trial to prove it’s safe and effective in people.

The device, called the NanoKnife, is currently being used in about 13 U.S. hospitals including Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock, Ark., University of Louisville, and Shands Hospital/University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla. Each machine costs as much as $300,000. Some of the hospitals are aggressively promoting the device in ads and media presentations. One radio ad by the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center says NanoKnife offers “real hope” to patients with liver, lung or kidney cancer with “almost no side effects.”

The NanoKnife has been tested on animals and a small number of human patients, says its manufacturer, AngioDynamics Inc. of Queensbury, N.Y. “We have not done randomized, controlled clinical trials, the so-called gold-standard studies,” says company chief executive Jan Keltjens. “We think this is a very promising technology for treating cancer that is otherwise untreatable.”


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