King’s offers NanoKnife cancer treatment to NHS patients

17 April 2015 - King’s College Hospital is now offering a new type of treatment for liver and pancreatic tumours

Barbara Theobald Nanoknife

The technology – known as NanoKnife – uses high-voltage electricity to ‘kill’ tumours.

King’s is already a major centre for the treatment of liver cancer and tumours, and NanoKnife is a less invasive treatment option for patients not suitable for traditional surgery.

NanoKnife uses needles which are guided into position around the tumour using ultrasound or CT scans.

Once the needles are in the correct position, a strong electric current is passed between them, killing the cancer cells in the tumour without the need for cuts or incisions.

The procedure is performed under general anaesthetic, and takes approximately 90 minutes. Patients usually require just one night in hospital following the procedure – a much shorter stay than those undergoing traditional surgery.

67-year-old Barbara Theobald from Sevenoaks (pictured) was the first patient at King’s to be treated for a pancreatic tumour using NanoKnife.

“I’d never had any surgery before, so I was very apprehensive about needing a major operation to remove my tumour,” she said. “But the team explained that because it was in a difficult place to operate, I would be suitable for the new NanoKnife treatment.

“I was slightly sceptical but decided to go ahead, and I’m really glad I did. I had no pain after the procedure, and I only needed to stay in hospital for a short time – I was back to normal very quickly afterwards.

“It was definitely the right decision – my recovery time was very short, and my scans all indicate that my cancer has gone. I’m very pleased with the treatment and can’t thank the team at King’s enough.”

Dr Praveen Peddu, Consultant Radiologist at King’s, said the NanoKnife is a new option when traditional surgery isn’t an option: “The technology destroys soft tissue tumours with an electric current, which minimises the risk to other healthy organs nearby.

“This is particularly important when a tumour is in a difficult place and surgery would be more dangerous, such as next to a major blood vessel.”

Professor Nigel Heaton, Professor of Surgery at King’s, added: “Many patients will still require surgery, but it is great that we are able to offer suitable patients this alternative treatment option and hopefully save more lives.”

Information for patients

Regrettably, the Nanoknife procedure is no longer available on the NHS at King’s.


Notes to editors

1. King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the UK’s largest and busiest teaching hospitals, training over 900 dentists, 750 doctors and 300 nurses every year. The Trust is recognized internationally for its work in liver disease and transplantation, neurosciences, cardiac, haemato-oncology, stroke and major trauma. On 1 October 2013, King’s took over the running of the Princess Royal University Hospital in Bromley and Orpington Hospital, as well as some services at Beckenham Beacon and Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup. The new enlarged organisation has over 10,500 staff and provides over 1 million patient contacts a year. 9,000 babies are delivered by our hospitals each year, and over 750 patients come to our Emergency Departments every day. For more information, please visit the website. You can also support the work of King’s College Hospital at www.togetherwecan.org.uk

2. King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering collaboration between King’s College London, and Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts.

King’s Health Partners is one of only six Department of Health-designated AHSCs in England and brings together an unrivalled range and depth of clinical and research expertise, spanning both physical and mental health. Our combined strengths will drive improvements in care for patients, allowing them to benefit from breakthroughs in medical science and receive leading edge treatment at the earliest possible opportunity.

Our partnership brings together...

  • three of the UK’s leading NHS Foundation Trusts;
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  • services provided over 225 locations, including seven hospitals and community and mental health centres;
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  • 31,000 staff;
  • 25,000 students;
  • a combined annual turnover of £2.8bn.

... to advance health and wellbeing by integrating world-class research, care and teaching.

3. At King’s College Hospital we fundraise for the best in treatment, research and health education, leading-edge equipment and improving well-being in our communities. By uniting doctors, nurses, researchers and academics with our supporters and volunteers we can provide the best patient care that goes above and beyond. Find out more and support us at togetherwecan.org.uk