The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the United Kingdom has approved a novel technology that can assist patients in detecting the spread of breast cancer.
A magnetic liquid tracer, Magtrace, and the detection equipment Sentimag were suggested by the NICE medical technology guidance for the detection of sentinel lymph nodes in breast cancer patients, according to a statement.
Using modern technology could reduce the need for imported radioactive isotope tracers.
Non-radioactive dark brown liquid Magtrace is used as a magnetic marker and as a colorant for a variety of products. Lymphatic system absorption occurs after it is administered intravenously to tissue surrounding a tumour.
The liquid moves in the same direction that cancer cells do.
The Sentimag functions in a manner that is analogous to that of a metal detector. As the probe advances across the surface of the skin, it passes over the Magtrace tracer, at which point it emits noises of varying pitches.
Sendinel lymph nodes can be removed for biopsy once they have been identified. Identification is made easier by the nodes’ being dark brown or black in color, as is common with these tumors.
If the biopsy reveals the presence of malignant cells, the surgeon may remove additional lymph nodes either during the first procedure or during a subsequent procedure.
Independent medical technology advisors believe the method to be equally effective as conventional methods of detecting sentinel lymph nodes. The conclusion is based on the evidence that currently exists.
An additional benefit of the approach is that it may be used by surgeons who work in institutions without or with limited access to a radiopharmacy department.
Although the technique is safe, there are certain drawbacks, such as skin discoloration.
Jeanette Kusel, interim director of MedTech and NICE digital, said: “People with breast cancer want to know if their disease has been isolated or has spread to the rest of their body.” An early understanding of this can lead to a better outcome.”