Funding award to develop minimally invasive tools to improve cancer surgery

Cambridge University Hospitals have teamed up with Ablatus Therapeutics Limited to develop a device to help treat tumours in the liver and minimalise the invasive procedure after the Cambridge based company were awarded a £1 million Government grant.

Working with Dr TC See Interventional Radiologist at Cambridge University Hospitals, the award will fund a two-year project to create a new surgical tool to perform ablations – a technique to destroy abnormal tissue, such as tumours. The device will then begin clinical trials at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, supported by the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre.

Over 6,000 people are diagnosed with liver cancer in the UK ever year. It can be hard to detect because symptoms often only develop at a late stage. Liver cancer can be treated with surgery to remove the tumour, but this is not always possible. If surgery is not possible, it may be feasible to reduce the tumour through a technique called ablation. This is where needles are inserted into the liver and the cancerous tissue is destroyed through heating.

The new funds will allow Ablatus Therapeutics Limited to develop the new surgical tool with Cambridge University Hospitals, with the hope that this will improve outcomes. The device will use Bimodal Electric Tissue Ablation (BETA), an energy-based alternative to open surgery that offers a novel, cost-effective and efficient approach to destroying abnormal tissue in situ and without major surgery.

Professor John Bradley, Director of Research at Cambridge University Hospitals said: “This partnership between Cambridge University Hospitals and Ablatus Therapeutics, supported by a £1m award from the Government, is a major step forward in treating liver cancer. It builds on our expertise in translating technology into the clinic to provide real benefits for patients.”

Dr Natalie Hayes, Chief Medical Officer and Interim CEO for Ablatus Therapeutics Limited said: “This is an enormous opportunity for Ablatus to build on the important work we have already done to complete development of what could be a game-changing treatment for patients with tumours. We are especially pleased to be able to bring this exciting new technology to local patients here in Cambridge when we start our first clinical study in Addenbrooke’s Hospital.”

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