Ontario to launch pilot project on NanoKnife...
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Feb 15, 2017  |  Vote 0    0

Ontario to launch pilot project on NanoKnife surgery

Ontario to test "NanoKnife" for pancreatic cancers after Peterborough-area mayor complains of lack of treatment here


“Better late than never.”

That was what Mayor Hector Macmillan of tiny Trent Hills, east of Peterborough, said Tuesday after Health Minister Eric Hoskins unveiled a $2.1 million pilot project to study the “NanoKnife” for treating pancreatic cancer.

“I’m living proof the NanoKnife works,” said Macmillan. “I’m glad to hear that our government does listen.”

He was diagnosed with stage IV cancer of the pancreas 13 months ago and raised money to pay $60,000 for his own high-tech surgery in Germany last October after being denied OHIP funding.

The 58-year-old made headlines last year for taking on Hoskins at public forums and charging the government had “sentenced him to die.”

The health minister acknowledged Macmillan’s strong push for the technology here and said the tipping point came when the University Health Network in Toronto proposed the pilot study.

“We believe that we have a role to play with emerging technologies to make them available but also to prove their effectiveness under different circumstances,” Hoskins, a family doctor, told reporters.

The trials will involve “dozens” of patients and provide scientific evidence that will lead to “hopefully, a further use of NanoKnife technology,” he added.

Until now, the NanoKnife, or irreversible electroporation (IRE) by its technical name, has only been used on a trial basis in Ontario for liver tumours.

Surgeons shrink or tumours with electric current through the NanoKnife by guiding two fine needles beneath the skin by ultrasound or CT scan, avoiding damage to surrounding tissues.

Macmillan said surgeons in Stralsund, Germany, where he had the procedure in October, told him a CT scan showed it “destroyed” his tumour and instructed him to get a follow-up scan, which he had in Kingston last week.

“I’m waiting to hear back. I’m hoping no news is good news,” said Macmillan, who boasted of doing a week-long road trip through Germany, across to Amsterdam and into France and Italy just seven days after his surgery.

“The car I rented needed an oil change when I brought it back, that’s for sure.”

At the time Macmillan was denied a NanoKnife procedure here, Toronto General Hospital said research showed it was not effective for stage IV cancers like his. The hospital was, at that point, trying to get funding to test the knife on stage III pancreatic cancers.

Toronto Star

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