Groundbreaking Technology Identifies Stray Cancer Cells During Surgery at Providence Saint Joseph Medical

April 24, 2013

BURBANK (April 23, 2013) – Following two successful surgeries last week, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center became one of the first hospitals in the nation to use the new MarginProbe during breast lumpectomy procedure to ensure no stray cancer cells are left behind.

The probe, manufactured by Dune Medical Devices, utilizes radio frequency waves to differentiate cancer cells from healthy tissues, reducing the need for follow-up surgeries or long waits while pathologies are checked.

“Traditionally, it takes two to four days from the time of surgery to ensure that the margins, or edges of what was removed, are free of tumor,” said Deanna Attai, M.D., a breast cancer surgeon at the Burbank hospital.. “This new technology allows the surgeon to test the edges of tissue in the operating room and has been shown in clinical trials to reduce the need for repeat surgery. Anytime we have the ability to reduce the number of procedures and increase accuracy, it is a benefit for our patients.”

MarginProbe determines if cancer cells remain once the tumor is removed during lumpectomy. Cancer cells are highly vascularized and respond to the RF wave. The procedure is expected to improve lumpectomy outcomes for early-stage breast cancer patients.

The first MarginProbe procedure was performed last month at the University of California, Irvine, Medical Center. Only one other medical center, in Pennsylvania, has utilized the device. The probe was approved in December by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is designed to help surgeons identify "cancer on the margin" and significantly reduce positive margins following a patient's initial lumpectomy surgery.

The Providence Saint Joseph Foundation agreed to fund the purchase of the probes for use in the MarginProbe System.