NICE work as Endomag breast cancer tech wins key backing
Cambridge-based Endomag’s ground-breaking magnetic lymphatic tracer Magtrace® has received its recommendation from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellent (NICE) for use in sentinel lymph node biopsy procedures.
This could see a change in the standard of care for breast cancer staging for the first time in years, allowing for drastically improved efficiencies and scheduling.
For many years surgeons across the UK have been using radioactive isotope tracers and blue dyes to stage breast cancer – a method that can cause delays due to the radioactive burden involved and ongoing supply issues.
This recommendation commends the advanced technology in magnetic tracers which allows for more flexibility for clinicians in its application, meaning it could mitigate the reliance on radioactive isotope tracers shipped in from outside of the UK while delivering a non-inferior standard of care to patients.
The NICE guidance states: “Evidence shows that Magtrace and Sentimag® is likely to be as effective at detecting sentinel lymph nodes as the radioactive isotope tracer and blue dye dual technique used in standard practice. Standard practice requires nuclear medicine safety procedures and facilities.
“Clinical expert advice suggested that hospitals with limited or no access to radiopharmacy are more likely to realise the opportunity costs that make this technology a cost-saving option.
“These hospitals are likely to be able to do more procedures because scheduling is less dependent on external supply chain and staffing resources.”
Magtrace is injected into the breast and enters the lymphatic system, following the route that potential cancer cells would take if migrating from a breast tumour up into the sentinel lymph nodes.
It will then sit in those nodes for up to 30 days, providing a strong signal for the lymph nodes to be identified, removed and analysed to indicate the presence of invasive cancer.
Magtrace is then detected by the Sentimag® probe which emits a louder pitch as it moves closer to the marked lymph nodes.
Quentin Harmer, the chief technology officer at Endomag said: “Though many UK hospitals have already been using Magtrace for years, we’re delighted to have received confirmation of this NICE guidance.
“NICE recommendations are extremely influential in demonstrating to NHS hospitals that a technology can offer improved performance and cost savings.
“The news is testament to the incredible work our team has put into making this truly innovative technology. Our mission now is to continue working to ensure more patients are provided with access to a better standard of breast cancer care across the UK, and the rest of the world.”
More than100,000 patients worldwide have already benefited from Magtrace procedures, with 85 hospitals in the UK alone using the technology. These include one of the UK’s premier cancer specialist hospitals, The Royal Marsden.
Peter Barry, consultant surgeon at the Royal Marsden Hospital said: “We have seen so many benefits from using Magtrace and its effectiveness results in better surgical options for breast cancer patients.
“It allows us to avoid using traditional radioactive tracers in most patients, and because it does not need to be given within hours of surgery, it helps with efficiency of scheduling and is a significant cost saving for surgical teams to be able to provide essential treatment.”
Magtrace is not a radioactive substance so does not require the use of a separate nuclear medicine department. This means patients can have procedures carried out in hospitals nearer to their homes without the need for travelling to specialist units.
Magtrace is just one part of the wider Sentimag platform which also includes Magseed®: a patient-centred method for targeting and removing breast tumours and is used when surgeons want to mark a lesion or node for localisation with accuracy and precision.