Every ten minutes, someone in the UK receives the worst news imaginable. Breast cancer is still the nation’s most common cancer diagnosis, and it can affect anyone. Yet, there is some good news.
Breast cancer is better understood than almost any of type of cancer. More people are living beyond it than ever before, with treatments and technologies taking a massive leap forward in the last decade.
Cambridge-based Endomag, sees itself as part of a global movement helping surgeons and radiologists to give their patients a better standard of cancer care. So far, Endomag has helped over 100,000 women around the world receive better breast surgery.
At the heart of its offering is its magnetic Sentimag® localization system. It features a probe, which works like a metal detector. When placed near the skin’s surface it can detect Endomag’s magnetic seed (Magseed®) or liquid tracer (Magtrace®), used for tissue localisation and cancer staging procedures respectively.
Eric Mayes, CEO at Endomag explains: “Endomag was founded on one simple idea. What if magnetics could remove the need for nuclear medicine in breast cancer staging? Magnetics boasts plenty of advantages – no radiation, or special facilities are needed to use it. Yet, the technology didn’t exist to bring magnetics into the operating room.”
Endomag was founded following groundbreaking research conducted at University College London and the University of Houston, where scientists Professor Quentin Pankhurst, Professor Audrisu Brazdeikis and Simon Hattersley developed a magnetic probe so precise it could detect one millionth of the Earth’s magnetic field. In clinical practice, this level of accuracy meant being able to pinpoint the location of a magnetic marker inside a tumour or lymph node to the millimetre.
Today, Endomag has helped hundreds of doctors provide a better standard of cancer care. So far, its technologies have been used in over 40 countries and 500 hospitals, across 5 continents.
Supporting breast surgeons in an unprecedent environment
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life for everyone over the last few months. In the area of cancer care, surgeons have faced new challenges.
“We heard from doctors who were moving their services to COVID-free cancer hubs,” says Eric. “These ‘cold sites’ kept patients and employees safe from the virus but weren’t perfect. They were sometimes small or lacking access to nuclear medicine. We realised that we could help doctors adapt to these new facilities, by providing them with a non-radioactive way to stage breast cancer.”
Together with its distribution partner, Sysmex UK, Endomag launched an initiative to help NHS hospitals across the UK. It donated free vials of its lymphatic tracer, Magtrace® so that surgeons could continue staging breast cancer in these cold sites. So far, the company has donated over £150,000 worth of Magtrace®, after an overwhelming response for support from UK hospitals.
The Magseed® marker also helps doctors improve their options for care. The tiny magnetic seed can be placed inside a tumour or lymph node at any time ahead of a procedure, marking it for ease of retrieval during surgery at a later date. Since its launch, this innovative marker has allowed clinicians to schedule patient treatment with greater flexibility, be more accurate in removing cancer cells and significantly reduce the need for re-excisions.
Endomag was recently named as one of Britain’s top 50 fastest-growing private tech companies - but they still see much more to do.
“Endomag stands on the shoulders of clinicians who have been making things better for patients for decades,” says Eric. “Throughout the history of breast cancer treatment, doctors have shared a common goal. Reducing invasiveness while maintaining clinical outcomes.
We’re proud to be maintaining that trend here at Endomag. We’ve been helping doctors introduce new techniques, such as targeted axillary dissection to their patients. We want to improve surgery when it’s needed, remove it when it isn’t and most importantly, ensure that care is available to everyone, everywhere.”
To find out more visit www.endomag.com