NanoKnife Surgery for Pancreatic and Liver Cancer

Mercy is proud to be among an exclusive group of hospitals offering the state-of-the-art NanoKnife system. The NanoKnife system can be used to treat a variety of soft tissue tumors, but is most often employed as an innovative, late-stage therapy for locally advanced pancreatic and liver cancers.

Dr. Debashish Bose, an expert in NanoKnife surgery, provides this option for patients in need of a solution to treat inoperable or late-stage, metastatic cancers (cancers that have spread beyond the initial organ).

NanoKnife Protects Vital Body Systems While Removing Tumors Dr. Debashish Bose - Mercy

Dr. Debashish Bose discusses how The NanoKnife protects the body while killing cancer cells. Learn more at

Patient Story - Dr. Debashish Bose - Surgical Oncology at Mercy

After experiencing weight loss and a change in skin color, Barbara saw Dr. Debashish Bose of Surgical Oncology at Mercy for cancer treatment. Learn more at

What is the NanoKnife system?

NanoKnife surgery is an ablative approach to permanently damaging cancer cells that may be difficult to reach and treat with traditional methods. It generates electrical pulses from carefully-placed probes to destroy diseased tissue, while preserving surrounding structures. 

How does NanoKnife surgery work?

The NanoKnife probes are put into position during surgery using ultrasound guidance to ensure exact placement for treatment of cancerous tissue. The probes target diseased cells with electrical pulses that create small holes in the cell membranes, permanently damaging them. This process is called IRE, or irreversible electroporation.

Irreversible electroporation is an ablative technique, a type of therapy that targets and kills diseased cells. Most ablative techniques rely on intense heat or cold to destroy cancerous tissue, which can affect critical structures nearby. Because the NanoKnife relies on IRE to destroy cells, it allows for greater accuracy, thus preserving surrounding healthy blood vessels, nerves and ducts.

What conditions does NanoKnife surgery treat?

NanoKnife surgery may be recommended for patients with advanced liver or pancreatic cancers, or in some cases, other soft tissue tumors that may be difficult to treat.

Pancreatic and liver cancers can be challenging from a treatment perspective, especially in later stages where the cancer has spread to nearby organs and vital structures. Patients with these types of cancers may have limited treatment options, and NanoKnife surgery provides the chance to extend survival by removing a significant portion of hard-to-reach, diseased cells and preserving functional, critical nerves, blood vessels and ducts.

If you think you may be a candidate for NanoKnife surgery, please contact our team. Our surgical oncologists will carefully review your medical history and work closely with you to determine the best course of action for your individual needs.

Surgical Oncology at Mercy is recognized for skilled cancer surgeons who provide expertise in treating patients with melanoma, abdominal/stomach and GI cancers.