Harley Street Clinic invests in brain cancer technology in UK first  

HCA’s Harley Street Clinic has acquired a medical device designed to treat patients with aggressive and complex brain tumours previously considered untreatable.

Clinical trials for the Visualase device have mainly taken place in the US where its manufacturer Medtronic is based. The technology recently received approval for use in the UK and has been taken up by doctors in Milan but this is the first time the technology has been available in the UK, surgeons from the Harley Street Clinic told HM.

Using advanced MRI-guided thermal laser ablation to eradicate tumorous cells, surgeons make a small surgical incision of a 3.2 mm burr hole into the patient’s skull to fit a 1.65mm catheter.

The procedure will be used to treat patients with deep-seated or hard to access tumours who are unable to undergo conventional surgery because of the risk to the healthy tissue.

Neurological and neurosurgical disorders, including epilepsy, can also be treated by the Visualase which is guided by a robotic device producing real-time MRI images for pinpoint laser precision.

Patients will need to stay in hospital for a day following treatment, which costs around £35,000. Discharge times are shorter compared to open procedures because of the low risk of infection associated with the ‘minimally invasive’ technique.

Ranjeev Bhangoo, a consultant neurosurgeon at the clinic, and part of London Neurosurgery Partnership, said: ‘The acquisition of Visualase at The Harley Street Clinic is a significant moment for the clinic and the treatment pathways we are able to offer our patients.

‘This technology offers another option for patients who have exhausted all other treatment possibilities. A very significant number of brain tumour patients are refused surgery because surgery will damage surrounding tissue and Visualase is now a new alternative we can offer these patients.’

Aida Yousefi, chief executive of the Harley Street Clinic, added: ‘HCA UK is committed to investing in the best technology for our patients, and the arrival of the ROSA Robot and Visualase MRI-guided ablation system for minimally invasive neurosurgery is testament to that.’