Oncology's Cutting Edge

This year's featured leaders illustrate medtech's ability to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing business environment.

Steve Halasey

May 1, 2008

2 Min Read
Oncology's Cutting Edge


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Access to Innovation

As As AngioDynamics Inc. (Queensbury, NY) continues to grow its presence in the oncology device market, the company is investing heavily in a new nonthermal ablation technology called irreversible electroporation. Instead of searing or freezing targeted tissue like other ablation technologies, irreversible electroporation disrupts the cell membrane, which in turn destroys the targeted cell.

(click to enlarge)Irreversible electroporation is a nonthermal tissue ablation technique in which electrical fields deployed by needle-like electrodes create nanoscale defects in a cell's membrane, causing cell death only in targeted tissue without destroying critical structures such as ducts, blood vessels, and nerves.

On April 24, the company reported the first human clinical use employing irreversible electroporation to ablate soft tissue was completely successfully based on analysis of biopsies performed on five patients.

In irreversible electroporation, needle electrodes are placed through the skin by image guidance in the center or at the edge of targeted tissue. A specific electrical field is then generated within the electrode array, causing permanent microscopic defects in the cell membranes. The permanently impaired cells are left in the body to be removed by the body's natural immune system. Irreversible electroporation should enable the preservation of nerves and other vital structures such as urethra, ducts, and blood vessels.

The April 24 results triggered the closing of AngioDynamics' acquisition the developer of irreversible electroporation technology, Oncobionic Inc. (San Francisco).

To date, preclinical activity involving irreversible electroporation has focused on the focal treatment of various cancers and benign diseases. Based on preclinical trials, Oncobionic's technology has received 510(k) clearance from FDA for the surgical ablation of soft tissue, including cardiac and smooth muscle.

AngioDynamics is looking to take irreversible electroporation beyond its current indication to fully exploit the nonthermal and selective necrosis mechanisms apparent with the technology. In doing so, the company is assembling a comprehensive program to investigate and commercialize irreversible electroporation for some of the largest indications in benign diseases, malignant diseases, adjunctive intravascular procedures, and aesthetics. In its quest to fully understand, develop, and commercialize the potential of irreversible electroporation for combating cancer, AngioDynamics expects to leverage its strong existing physician relationships while also developing new investigator partnerships.

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