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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Surgeon-led Australian technology improves QoL for prostate cancer patients

Health Industry Hub | February 14, 2024 |

MedTech & Diagnostics News: A cutting-edge laser procedure promises to transform the landscape of prostate cancer treatment, offering hope to millions of men worldwide. The ProFocal System, developed by Associate Professor Celi Varol, a Sydney urologist with two decades of experience, has shown remarkable success in conserving the prostate gland and minimising side effects.

Associate Professor Varol’s decade-long dedication to refining surgical techniques led him to listen closely to patients’ concerns about the aftermath of prostate cancer treatment, which often included urinary incontinence and loss of sexual function.

Driven by a passion for finding a less invasive solution, Associate Professor Varol established Medlogical Innovations in 2013 and embarked on a four-year journey to develop the ProFocal System. This novel technique, which treats prostate cancer while preserving surrounding nerves and tissues, has garnered support from the NSW Health Commercialisation Training Program and the Medical Devices Fund.

Associate Professor Varol expressed his satisfaction with the initial grant, stating, “This investment was critical in advancing the initial ‘proof of concept’ for the technique.” The new funding will facilitate the establishment of a manufacturing facility in Lane Cove, supporting the commercialisation of ProFocal for both the Australian and international markets.

The ProFocal System’s success lies in its ability to accurately target and ablate specific areas of the prostate gland, destroying only cancerous tissue while leaving healthy tissue intact. This minimally invasive procedure takes less than an hour, with patients experiencing little discomfort and, in some cases, no need for painkillers.

“With the assistance of MRI we’re able to target the cancer with the highest of accuracy. By targeting the cancer itself, and leaving the organ intact we are providing an opportunity for our patients to experience next to no side effects,” Associate Professor Varol explained.

He highlighted the impact on the quality of life for men with prostate cancer, stating, “This is an important and encouraging result that will substantially improve the quality of life for men being treated for prostate cancer, the second most common cancer in men.”

Globally, nearly 1.5 million men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, and traditional treatments like robotic radical prostatectomy and radiation therapy often come with significant side effects. Associate Professor Varol emphasised the importance of ProFocal’s focus on reducing these adverse effects, stating, “Robotic surgery may not seem invasive, but it can still be quite destructive to delicate nerves and tissues surrounding the prostate.”

The ProFocal System, designed to meet the three goals of the ‘Trifecta concept’ – cured, continent, and potent – has shown exceptional success in a phase one trial involving 100 patients. Associate Professor Varol proudly reported, “Patients experience next to no side effects, with zero urinary and bowel incontinence and minimal impact on sexual function.”

With an impressive success rate of around 90% after just one session, Associate Professor Varol hopes the treatment will be available to men in 2024, pending appropriate TGA approvals. Moreover, due to its precision, there are potential future applications for ProFocal in lung and spinal treatments, pending further development and clinical trials.

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