AngioDynamics: Irreversible Electroporation Shows Early Promise

AngioDynamics announced the first percutaneous use of NanoKnife, an irreversible electroporation (IRE) device. Although its too early to estimate the product’s prospects, under AngioDynamics watch, IRE has blockbuster potential. Synergies with the company’s other oncology products (which use radio frequency energy to destroy target tissue) abound.

Irreversible electroporation uses electrical fields to create small defects in a cell’s membrane. Damage to the cell membrane causes cell death but spares surrounding structures like blood vessels and nerves. By lessening collateral damage and sparing surrounding structures, the body is better able to remove damaged tissue. AngioDynamics acquired the technology from Oncobionics in April 2008.

“With IRE, what I believe we’re looking at is a whole new treatment modality that can be used on a wider spectrum of patients which potentially reduces risk or impact to their body. I believe the NanoKnife represents a new paradigm in radiologically guided microsurgery,” commented Ken Thomson, Director of the Department of Radiology at The Alfred, where the study took place.

Using the NanoKnife system, a kidney case and two liver cases were preformed between November 6th and 20th. All three cases were procedurally flawless and encountered no safety issues. Two patients reported no pain post-procedure and the third patient reported a small amount of pain which was transient and resolved completely overnight. The Alfred intends to conduct further patient follow-up before determining final outcomes.

AngioDynamics intends to file investigational device exemptions with the FDA to pursue additional and more specific tissue indications. Thus far, the device has been cleared for general soft tissue ablation.

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