For the First Time in Hadassah – A Breakthrough for Inoperable Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive cancers known today. About 40% of cases are detected at the metastatic stage, while in 30% of cases the cancer is detected at a locally advanced stage with involvement by the tumor of large and adjacent blood vessels, thus preventing its surgical removal. In inoperable cases, the customary treatment is chemotherapy, and sometimes external radiation is also used.

During the past two years, an innovative treatment has been approved in various jurisdictions that allows focused radiation to be targeted directly into the cancerous tumor.

OncoSil™ is an innovative treatment for patients with non-operable pancreatic cancer. It is defined as a breakthrough technology by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and in combination with chemotherapy has shown a significant reduction in tumor size.

Several days ago, the first treatment in Jerusalem was performed on a 68-year-old patient by the staff of the gastroenterology department at Hadassah. The patient suffered from advanced pancreatic cancer, but due to the location of the tumor, in the area of the pancreatic head, and its local progression, it was not possible to operate. The patient was an excellent candidate for the new treatment. Dr. David Itzkovitz, a senior physician in Hadassah’s Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases Complex, explains: “This is an innovative procedure designed to treat patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer in parallel with chemotherapy.”

The preparation OncoSil™, is a substance produced using innovative technology, which is radioactively active and injected directly into the tumor tissue under endoscopic ultrasound (EUS). It allows selective damage to tumor tissue with minimal damage to nearby organs. Due to its advanced technology, it allows for the administration of high doses of local radiation to the tumor itself by a one-time injection.

In a controlled study performed on patients with locally advanced pancreatic tumor, it was found that OncoSil™ treatment improved follow-up indices, reduced tumor volume, and in a significant number of cases made it possible to operate on the patients and remove the tumor completely.

OncoSil™ treatment does not require hospitalization in most cases and we perform it at the Gastroenterology Institute with the help of a skilled team of doctors, nurses and physicists, and in conjunction with the staff of the Hadassah Department of Nuclear Medicine.

Today more than 200 patients have been treated with OncoSil™ in the world. The technology is approved for use in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Israel.