A new device for removing liver tumours with virtually no blood loss has been successfully used for the first time in America.
The Habib 4X resection device is named after its inventor ProfessorNagy Habib, Professor of Hepato-Biliary Surgery at Imperial CollegeLondon and chief of service for gastrointestinal surgery at HammersmithHospitals NHS Trust in west London. The revolutionary new device usesradiofrequency energy to 'seal' tissue around a tumour site, allowingthe tumour to be removed while preventing blood loss and othercomplications. The device has enabled surgeons to operate wherepreviously it would have been too risky.
After developing the technology Professor Habib formed anImperial College spinout company, EMcision, who have a worldwidelicence agreement with US-based RITA Medical Systems. The Habib 4Xreceived approval from the US Food and Drug administration in August,and the first operation using the Habib 4X took place at the City ofHope National Medical Center in Duarte, near Los Angeles, California,last week. The Habib 4X is already licensed for use in Europe.
The Habib 4X works by delivering high-energy radio wavesthrough a hand held device consisting of four electrodes into tissuearound the tumour. They heat cells causing them to dehydrate and thusform a seal. The tumour is removed with a scalpel, with virtually noblood loss, and without the use of staples, glue, ties, and sutures.
Before use of the device in the UK for the removal of livertumours, patients often lost up to ten pints of blood during theoperation. Now, less than 50ml (an egg-cup full) is lost, and thepatient spends less time in hospital intensive care. Over 100 patientshave been operated on with the new device since October 2004, and nonehave died or suffered serious illness after the operation. The averagehospital stay has been reduced from two weeks to eight days. Whenpatients were followed up over a period of between two and 20 months,tumours had not returned in any of them. "The liver is the secondcommonest site of cancer in the body," comments Professor Habib, "Sothe potential of the Habib 4X is huge. The first use of the device inAmerica is a significant and exciting milestone."
"The liver is the second commonest site of cancer in the body,"comments Professor Habib, "So the potential of the Habib 4X is huge.The first use of the device in America is a significant and excitingmilestone as we continue to develop the potential of radio frequencyand microwave technologies for surgery."
As part of the licensing deal, the Habib 4X will be made available to developing countries in Africa at cost price.
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