Cancer Ablation by Water Vapor
Thermal water vapor energy technology is a breakthrough therapy designed to use phase shift energy, stored in sterile water vapor, to convectively transfer thermal energy to cancerous tissue, causing cell death. Through this process, damage to surrounding structures is minimized or eliminated by respecting the natural boundaries of the prostate.
The outcome will be a revolutionary cancer therapy that is tough on cancer but gentle on patients.
Phase Shift Energy in Water Vapor Technology
Cancer ablation by water vapor utilizes the vast amount of energy generated when liquid water changes to water vapor (steam).
As water converts to vapor or steam at ~100°C an exponential phase shift occurs, with the resulting water vapor carrying more than 5x the energy of water of the same mass.
When the vapor is delivered to the targeted tissue, the stored thermal energy is released onto the cancerous cells as the vapor is condensing back to its liquid state. This energy transfer causes immediate disruption (ablation) of the cellular membrane, ultimately leading to cell death.
Water Vapor Technology
Convection vs. Conduction:
Most of today’s ablative technologies utilize thermal energy emanating from a single point that is either hot or cold. The thermal energy then transfers from cell to cell (conduction) and gradually gets cooler (or warmer) the further you get from the source. This results in heating (or cooling) that is uneven and can be difficult to control.
Water vapor technology behaves very differently. When administered under pressure, the vapor moves through the interstitial space between the cells (convection) in a few seconds. The energy is evenly distributed throughout the vaporized area and ablates uniformly as the vapor condenses back into water.
Videos representing the difference between the conductive and convective transfers of thermal energy:
Respecting Natural Boundaries
The prostate, a walnut sized gland located between the bladder and the penis just in front of the rectum, is encased within fibromuscular layers of cells called the prostate capsule. Within the prostate are areas (zones) separated by what are commonly referred to as pseudocapsules.
Traditional prostate cancer therapies can result in erectile dysfunction or incontinence by damaging nerves or other tissue outside the prostate.1 In contrast, water vapor technology is uniquely designed to work inside the walls of the prostate, with the intent of minimizing or eliminating thermal damage to the nerves and surrounding prostate tissue.
A distinction between thermal water vapor and other ablative technologies: when vapor is released within one of the prostate zones it intends to “respect” the prostate capsule and pseudocapsule boundaries by staying within the zone it was released.
This ability to stay within the zone of application is critical when ablating prostate cancer because it will prevent the vapor’s ablative energy from escaping outside of the prostate.
By staying inside the targeted zone, the outcome should be a reduction in the incidences of erectile dysfunction or incontinence, commonly experienced with traditional prostate cancer therapies.
Types of Cancer to be Treated
Water vapor technology is showing promise for several types of cancer.
In the United States, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer death in men. The American Cancer Society estimates 248,530 new cases and 34,130 deaths due to prostate cancer in 2021. Currently, nearly 3.1 million American men have the disease1 with it developing more often in African-American men and Caribbean men of African ancestry than in men of other races and occurs less often in Asian-American and Hispanic/Latino men than in non-Hispanic whites.2
The International Agency for Research on Cancer estimates there were 1.4 million new prostate cancer cases around the world in 2020.3
Although opinions differ, it is feasible that many men with clinically-localized prostate cancer and their physicians would prefer a less invasive, localized cancer treatment versus the traditional approach of removing (radical prostatectomy) or using radiation therapy on the entire prostate.
1] Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer. American Cancer Society. www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/about/key-statistics.html. Updated January 12, 2021. Accessed March 25, 2021.
2] Prostate Cancer Risks Factors. American Cancer Society. www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html. Updated June 9, 2020. Accessed March 25, 2021.
3] International Agency for Research on Cancer. World Health Organization. gco.iarc.fr/today/data/factsheets/cancers/27-Prostate-fact-sheet.pdf. Published December 2020. Accessed March 25, 2021.
According to the American Cancer Society, in 2021 about 76,080 people in the United States will be diagnosed with kidney cancer and 13,780 will die from the disease.1
The average age of people at diagnosis is 64 with most people being diagnosed between the ages of 65 and 74.
Kidney cancer is about twice as common in men than in women and it is more common in African Americans and American Indian/Alaska Natives.2
Early detection can improve the prognosis. Treatment for kidney cancer varies depending on whether cancer has metastasized (spread) or is localized to the kidney.
Localized kidney cancer is most often treated with surgery. Metastasized kidney cancer is also most often treated with surgery and may include targeted therapy drugs and immunotherapy. Occasionally, radiation therapy is used.3
1] Key Statistics About Kidney Cancer. American Cancer Society. www.cancer.org/cancer/kidney-cancer/about/key-statistics.html. Updated January 12, 2021. Accessed March 25, 2021.
2] Kidney Cancer Causes, Risk Factors, and Prevention. American Cancer Society. www.cancer.org/cancer/kidney-cancer/causes-risks-prevention.html. Published February 1, 2020. Accessed March 25, 2021
3] Treatment of Kidney Cancer by Stage. American Cancer Society. www.cancer.org/cancer/kidney-cancer/treating/by-stage.html. Updated January 29, 2021. Accessed March 25, 2021.
The American Cancer Society estimates in 2021 there will be 83,730 new bladder cancer cases (about 64,280 men and 19,450 women) in the United States.
Overall, the chance men will develop this cancer during their life is about 1 in 27 (making it the fourth most common cancer in men). For women, the chance is about 1 in 89.
Whites are more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer than African Americans or Hispanic Americans.
About half of all bladder cancers are first found when the cancer is still located only within the inner layer of the bladder wall. About one in three of these cases spreads into deeper layers while remaining completely inside the bladder wall.
As with most types of cancer, the risk of bladder cancer increases, with 73 being the average age for bladder cancer diagnosis.
Standard treatment options for bladder cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. The type of treatment chosen can vary depending on the specific type and stage of cancer.
Source: Bladder Cancer. American Cancer Society. www.cancer.org/cancer/bladder-cancer. Updated January 30, 2019. Accessed March 25, 2021
*Device is not commercially available and is currently being studied under an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE).
Expanding Treatment Options
“We foresee this technology as a true minimally invasive breakthrough that will improve quality of life and expand the cancer treatment options available today for patients suffering from prostate, bladder and kidney cancers.”
MICHAEL HOEY, FOUNDER AND CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER