The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) now endorses the use of Magtrace and Sentimag magnetic marker liquids to locate sentinel lymph nodes in women with breast cancer in a new draft guidance.
Sentinel lymph nodes are the first lymph nodes that a primary tumour can drain. When the tracer is injected into a tumour, tracer particles are absorbed into the lymphatic system and follow the route that cancer cells take when spreading from the primary tumour. Given that the particles are magnetic, a metal detector-like probe moving over the skin’s surface can be used to identify sentinel lymph nodes where the particles become trapped. Once a sentinel lymph node is located, it can be biopsied for cancer cells.
The major advantage of this system is that it decreases the reliance on radiopharmacy departments and radioisotopes. It also reduces the risk of anaphylaxis arising from the blue dye method of identifying sentinel lymph nodes (an alternate detection method). Magtrace and Sentimag can also be injected 20 minutes before biopsy, unlike radioisotopes or blue dye, which need to be injected on the previous day.
Jeanette Kusel, acting director for MedTech and digital at NICE, said: Using the Magtrace technology is another option for surgeons who work in hospitals with limited or no access to radiopharmacy departments. The benefits of using this technology include the potential for more procedures to take place, reducing the reliance on radioactive isotopes shipped into the country and for less travel for people having a biopsy.”
NICE will collect data to understand whether the technology is associated with a cost-saving once adopted.
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