The first prostate cancer Nanoknife treatment in Queensland was performed by Dr Kua at the Wesley hospital.
Unlike a radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy to treat the whole prostate gland, The NanoKnife is a minimally invasive FOCAL therapy to treat only the prostate cancer in the prostate gland. It destroys prostate cancer cells by using a technology called ‘irreversible electroporation’, which cuts holes into the cancer cell membranes. The cells then die through a process called apoptosis. Critical supportive tissues and adjacent blood vessels are not affected by the treatment. As the prostate gland is not removed by surgery or burnt by radiation, the adjacent erectile nerves and urinary sphincters are normally not disturbed. Hence, the risks of loss of urinary control and sexual dysfunction are very low. Because it is a focal therapy treating only the cancerous prostate cells, advanced 3T multi-parametric prostate MRI imaging and whole gland mapping biopsies are required before treatment is considered.
The prostate Nanoknife treatment is usually completed in less than 2 hours under a general anaesthetic in the operating theatre. Blood loss is uncommon and blood transfusion is not usually required. There is no skin incision and the procedure can be done as a day procedure or as an overnight stay. The patient has a catheter for 3-7 days and can be discharged home on simple oral pain killers. Recovery is quick and the patient can normally return to work in 1-2 weeks.
As the prostate Nanoknife is a new technology, there is no long-term data on the efficacy. Published short-term data shows promising results with cancer control of over 90% in the treatment zone. It is important to note that not all patients are suitable for the prostate Nanoknife and careful patient selection is still required to achieve optimal outcomes.