Intratumoural treatment utilizing holmium microsphere injection, also called holmium microbrachytherapy, is a new application method for radioactive holmium microspheres. Holmium microspheres are commonly known for transarterial radioembolization in hepatic metastasis. With intratumoral injection, the application width may be expanded to new organs and diffuse tumours which are ineligible for radioembolization. Within the MAGIC research group, intratumoral holmium microsphere injection is developed and studied for several types of cancer including glioma (brain cancer) and pancreatic adenocarcinoma (pancreatic cancer).
Pancreatic cancer holds one of the worst prognosis of all common malignancies. Minimal invasive microbrachytherapy with holmium microspheres may improve tumour control, pain, survival and quality of life. Currently, ex vivo research is being performed and the first patients are being treated in a select patient groups (it is not possible to apply for this study). Within the following years, research should advance to minimal invasive application in patients who are ineligible for surgical resection.
Worldwide, 4 million people are diagnosed with brain cancer every year. Although there are various treatment options including neurosurgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, treatment is rarely curative. A minimally invasive intratumoural treatment, in which radioactive particles are injected directly into the tumour, might improve the overall outcome. For this new treatment method, first in vitro and in vivo tests are performed in phantoms, laboratory animals and veterinary patients. The results of these studies are promising and within a short period of time the first in human study will be setup.