Health Bulletin

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New Access to Advanced Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer Patients

Ontario Piloting More Treatment Options

February 14, 2017

The province is piloting a new minimally invasive treatment for pancreatic cancer, increasing access to the advanced and non-invasive technology for Ontario patients.

The province is expanding the Irreversible Electroporation (IRE) trial program, also known as NanoKnife. Until now, the University Health Network has only operated NanoKnife trials for liver tumours. The new clinical trial will enable eligible pancreatic cancer patients to also access this technology, beginning this spring.

This cancer treatment is minimally invasive and uses electrical impulses to shrink inoperable tumours without damaging surrounding tissues. It could be an option for patients who are not candidates for conventional treatment or for whom other treatments have not been effective. The information gathered in this trial will provide insight on the impact of this treatment on the survival and potential quality of life of pancreatic cancer patients in Ontario.

Helping cancer patients access advanced treatment technologies is part of the government's plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which is providing patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to stay healthy and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.


"It's important that people with cancer have access to the most up-to-date lifesaving medical technologies and treatments here in Ontario. By funding the University Health Network to conduct research on the use of Irreversible Electroporation (IRE), or NanoKnife technology, we are improving access to modern health care for eligible patients with pancreatic cancer, making this procedure available to more Ontarians."
- Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

"Clinical trials are important for determining the effectiveness of new treatments for cancer patients. Cancer Care Ontario will work with the University Health Network to evaluate the evidence from the trial to ensure Ontario cancer patients continue to receive high quality care."
- Michael Sherar, President and CEO, CCO

"I am very pleased that UHN and our team will be funded to conduct a clinical trial designed to provide state-of-the-art comparative evidence about IRE and its role in treating patients with pancreatic cancer. Rigorous data from well designed and conducted clinical trials must always guide our decisions about new therapeutic approaches."
- Dr. Peter Pisters, President and CEO of University Health Network



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