New Breast Cancer Treatment Freezes Cells & May Spare Surgery

Trials of IceCure Medical’s minimally invasive breast cancer treatment are showing great promise.

Cryoablation therapy.

 (CI Photos / Shutterstock.com)

A new minimally invasive treatment for breast cancer that uses cryoablation therapy to freeze breast cancer cells is being trialed in the US and has already shown great promise. The technology that is being pioneered by Israeli med-tech company IceCure Medical uses liquid nitrogen instead of a scalpel.

IceCure’s ProSense system relies on the liquid nitrogen to reach a temperature of -170°C (-274° F), that is inserted into the tumor via a hollow needle according to the company. “We are basically covering the tissue with an ice ball,” Tlalit Bussi Tel-Tzure, vice president of business development and global marketing at IceCure told The Media Line.

“No tissue can survive such a low temperature,” she said. “Once the tissue is dead, it will dissolve in the body in a natural process and be absorbed in the body in a couple of weeks.” While the technology is relatively new, the company is already using cryoablation therapy to treat other forms of cancer including lung, bone, kidney, liver, and cervical.

“Our main vision is to become the gold standard in breast cancer treatment,” Eyal Shamir, CEO of IceCure Medical said. “Most of the cases where you have good early detection are small tumors, considered early stage, and the only treatment available today is surgery.”

The freezing process takes less than an hour and is not as invasive as biopsies and it doesn’t change the shape of the breast like a lumpectomy.  Another big plus is that the patient gets to go home without being hospitalized and most of the trial participants were actually able to resume normal activities within 48 hours, according to Globes.

The current trial is taking place in 18 hospitals with 206 patients and the results will be released mid-2021. The trial includes patients over 50 with low-risk breast cancer in early stages, and tumors that are 1.5 centimeters (0.59 inches) growths. So far, only one patient had her cancer reoccur. All the patients will be studied for five years after their treatment.

Clinical trials for better breast cancer treatments are vitally important since more women will be diagnosed with breast cancer than all other cancers except for skin cancer according to statistics from Cancer.net. In fact, over 320,000 women in the US are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.

With many women putting off routine health care like mammograms due to the coronavirus pandemic, many early diagnoses may be missed. Since early detection is still the key to successful treatments for breast cancer, “the sooner the screening or the diagnosis is done, the sooner the tumor will be discovered and the more efficient our treatment will be,” Bussi Tel-Tzure told Media Line.

While IceCure’s system will not replace all forms of treatment, it could become an important noninvasive early breast cancer treatment.

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