The prestigious European Association of Urology (EAU) has recognised the important role of cryotherapy in the treatment of cancer of the prostate, by including the industrial gas-consuming therapy for the first time in its new guidelines on prostate cancer.

Launched at the EAU’s recent 22nd annual Congress in Berlin, the guidelines support the use of cryosurgical ablation of the prostate (CSAP) as a possible alternative treatment method for patients with clinically localised cancer of the prostate.

All other minimally invasive treatment options, such as high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), radiofrequency interstitial tumour ablation (RITA), microwaves and electro surgery, are all still considered to be experimental or investigational by the EAU.

Cryotherapy or cryoablation however, finds favour from the EAU and involves the use of hollow needles or cryoprobes through which cooled, thermally conductive, gases and fluids are circulated – most likely involving liquid nitrogen.

Cryotherapy uses freezing techniques to induce cell death by dehydration resulting in protein denaturation, direct rupture of cellular membranes by ice crystals and vascular stasis and microthrombi.

The independent endorsement by the EAU recognises the recent advances made in cryoblation. Leading the way in this field, Galil Medical’s Presice™ Cryoablation System revolutionises minimally invasive cryotherapy with a state-of-the-art freezing technology, patented 17g needle design with sharper tips, planning and simulation software, and streamlined workflow. The system has been designed to achieve optimal therapeutic benefit with minimal intervention and is licensed for the cryotherapy treatment for renal and prostate cancer.

In December 2006, Galil Medical completed the purchase of its cryotherapy assets from Oncura to spearhead expansion into Europe, and its acquisition of this innovative technology is enabling the company to expand into new therapeutic areas throughout Europe.

The EAU recognises the fact that prostate cancer is one the principal medical problems facing the male population today. In Europe, an estimated 2.6 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year. Prostate cancer constitutes about 11% of all male cancers in Europe and accounts for 9% of all cancer deaths among men within the European Union.