A new technology for use during cancer staging in the sentinel lymph node biopsy procedure is currently under trial in the United States. North Central Surgical Center’s Dr. Peter Beitsch, a privately practicing Dallas oncology surgeon who specializes in treating skin and breast cancer, completed the first procedure using this new technology in the US.
The SentiMag® and Sienna+® magnetic detection system allows surgeons to locate lymph nodes that may contain cancer cells and determine with greater sensitivity and accuracy whether cancer has spread beyond the tumor.
The sentinel lymph node biopsy procedure is used to evaluate breast cancer and melanoma. “The traditional way to find sentinel nodes for breast cancer involves the use of a radioactive dye injected into the breast,” explains Dr. Beitsch. “The radioactive dye typically drains to one to three lymph nodes that drain the breast. We use a hand-held gamma radiation detector to find the lymph node(s) that are radioactive and remove them.”
The SentiMag® system avoids the radioisotopes that are traditionally used for cancer staging, offers patients a pain-free injection of tracer and gives surgeons more control.
“The SentiMag® procedure uses a nano-device—the first approved nano-device for medical use in the US—which is similarly injected into the breast and was designed to optimize drainage into but not beyond the draining sentinel nodes,” said Dr. Beitsch. “Then a very sensitive magnetic detector is used to find the sentinel lymph nodes that have SentiMag®. The procedure does not involve any radiation.”
The SentiMag® procedure is currently only available within the clinical trial, but interested patients are encouraged to contact Tiffany Huber at email@example.com or Dr. Beitsch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once the study is completed, Dr. Beitsch says he anticipates “rapid FDA approval for this product and technique. As soon as it is widely available, this will undoubtedly sweep the country and replace the pain and radiation associated with our current radioactive dye technique for sentinel node biopsy.”
The study is set for completion by the end of 2015, with FDA approval of the product and technique expected in early 2016.
“It is very exciting to introduce this new nano-device directed procedure to the US,” said Dr. Beitsch. “Patients will have less exposure to radiation and will be able to avoid painful injections prior to anesthesia.”