KIMA - Korea International Medical Association


Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, Local prostate cancer can now be treated through electric pulse instead of surgeries by Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital(SSMH)

December 2,2020

Local prostate cancer can now be treated through electric pulse instead of surgeries

- Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital(SSMH), first in Asia to introduce “NanoKnife” -

- 2 to 6 thin electrode needles penetrate, emit electric pulse and kill cancer cells –

- Ministry of Health and Welfare approves it as new health technology, ensuring safety -


A new type of treatment for local prostate cancer has been introduced. The treatment does not require surgery but can kill cancer cells with a strong electric pulse.

The research team of Lee Ji Youl and Park Yong Hyun of the Catholic University of Korea, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, introduced NanoKnife for the first time in Asia.

NanoKnife, one of irreversible electroporation, has been announced as a restrictive medical treatment in 2019 and is only practiced in SSMH.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare introduces safety-ensured restrictive medical treatment when there is no alternative treatment for a certain disease or when it is in an urgent need to be introduced into clinical practice for rare diseases.

Lee’s team of researchers introduced the new health technology to overcome the limits of treating prostate cancer, which is rapidly increasing among men. The team is practicing new technology in earnest to help treat prostate cancer patients.

NanoKnife is a type of local treatment which target prostate patients who are in low or medium risk. 2 to 6 thin electrode needles emit millions of electric pulses per second around cancer cells and destroy them with nano-scale holes. The holes trigger the cancer cells’ molecule balance to collapse and make them die gradually, which eventually eliminates cancer.

Unlike the radical treatment that targeted the whole gland, existing local treatments of prostate cancer burned a part of the prostate where tumor cells were located.

NanoKnife advances a step further. The biggest merit of NanoKnife is that it does not cause a huge burden to the patient. This is because it only destroys cancer cells and does not cause heat-produced damage to the organs near the prostate such as the urethra, neurovascular bundle, and rectum.


The research team of Lee Ji Youl and Park Yong Hyun of the department of urology said, “We are utilizing the New Health Technology to provide an effective and successful treatment to prostate cancer patients.” They added, “Recovery is quick, so it only takes a day after the procedure for the patients to return to their daily lives. Patients and their families are greatly satisfied as the procedure nearly has any complications such as urinary incontinence and impotence.”