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Technology makes inoperable pancreatic cancer doable

April 26, 2023

Doctors at Vanderbilt University Medical Center treated a pancreatic cancer patient using IntraOp Mobetron IORT with electrons — the first surgery performed in Tennessee with this new technology utilizing intraoperative radiotherapy in the operating room.

The patient had been told her tumor was inoperable because of its proximity to major blood vessels, including the aorta. The procedure was performed by surgical oncologist Kamran Idrees, MD, MSCI, MMHC, Ingram Associate Professor of Cancer Research, and radiation oncologist Natalie Lockney, MD, assistant professor of Radiation Oncology.

Vanderbilt, the only Center of Excellence for pancreatic cancer in Tennessee as designated by the National Pancreas Foundation, is also the only hospital in the state with this advanced surgical technology. Idrees specializes in treating complex cancers of the pancreas, liver and bile ducts that may involve major blood vessels and adjacent organs. His patients include people with pancreatic and other abdominal cancers who have been told their tumors are inoperable.

“With the precision of intraoperative radiation therapy, we can target any remaining cancer cells on or near blood vessels to vital organs. With this technology, we can precisely give radiation to the area of concern during surgery while avoiding radiation to other organs,” said Idrees, chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery.