NNUH doctors win national medical innovation award
Doctors from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital have won first prize in the medical devices category of the National NHS Innovation Awards for developing a pioneering procedure that “cooks cancers”.
The NNUH consultants were regional winners in the Health Enterprise East innovation awards held in June this year and were shortlisted for the national finals held at the Wellcome Foundation in London on December 3.
Dr John Cockburn, interventional radiologist and Mr Simon Wemyss-Holden, laparascopic and hepatobiliary surgeon, won the award for their invention: Bimodal Electric Tissue Ablation (BETA). This is a new technique which destroys inaccessible tumours using an intriguing development of current practice (radio frequency ablation-RFA).
In contrast to RFA, which cooks and dries out cancers, BETA keeps the tumour hydrated during the ablation process. This increases the volume of tissue destroyed by up to eight-fold. Intensive research studies are underway locally and in Australia, and it is hoped that the BETA technique will reduce the recurrence rate of certain cancers.