Royal Marsden is first in UK to use magnetic device to remove sarcoma

Surgeons at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust have become the first in the UK to remove a sarcoma tumour using a magnetic device designed to locate tumours.

Developed by Sirius Medical, a Netherlands Cancer Institute spin-off, Sirius Pintuition consists of a small magnetic seed - the size of a grain of rice - and a detector. Originally designed to help locate early-stage breast tumours ahead of surgery, the device is now being used to treat advanced disease and other tumour types, including sarcoma and melanoma.

Ahead of surgery, the seed is inserted by a radiologist into the site of the tumour. The surgeon then uses the detector to determine the seed’s location to remove the cancerous tissue. The device allows for millimetre accurate detection and delivers directional guidance so surgeons can precisely locate the tumour.

Traditionally, tumour sites are marked on the skin of sarcoma patients using ultrasound prior to surgery. As ultrasound provides a 2D image, finding the marked tumour requires interpretation. Sirius Pintuition instead provides distance and direction measurement, which can make it easier for surgeons to find the tumour’s location. 

Sarcoma is a rare cancer with around 5,300 people in the UK every year. The disease affects connective tissues, either in the bones or soft tissues, such as muscle, nerves, fat, fibrous tissue, and blood vessels.

Mrs Linda Brace (75 from Hertfordshire) is the first sarcoma patient in the UK to have surgery guided by Sirius Pintuition. The operation on her leg went ahead on successfully on 18 May and she is currently recovering at home. Linda said: 

“I found two lumps on the back of my leg around May 2019. As my husband Michael - who sadly passed away that September - wasn’t well, I ignored them. However, not long after Michael died, I started feeling ill and my GP sent me for tests which came back unclear, so I was referred to The Royal Marsden. That’s when I was diagnosed with sarcoma, which was very scary. My children had just lost their dad, and I didn’t want them to lose their mum too.

“My treatment included radiotherapy and surgery in January 2020, with the plastics team using a flap made from skin and muscle from my thigh to help me heal. After the treatment finished, I returned to the hospital for follow-up scans, which were all fine until February 2022 which showed the cancer had come back. My surgeon, Mr Smith, said I needed another operation and there was a new type of equipment which would help guide him. 

“Over a month on, I’m a bit bruised, but don’t feel too bad at all. The care I received at The Royal Marsden was marvellous. I was more than happy to take part in this service evaluation as I trust my team and hope this technology might help more people with cancer.”

Mr Myles Smith, Consultant Surgical Oncologist and General Surgeon in the Sarcoma Unit and Skin Unit at The Royal Marsden, said:

“Sarcomas can be found anywhere in the body and, as they are often surrounded by rigid structures like muscle and tendon, locating the disease during surgery can be challenging if the tumour is small, deep or has responded well to other treatments. Fortunately, we’re entering a golden age of preoperative surgical planning and intraoperative guidance with many technologies, like Sirius Pintuition, being developed to make cancer surgery more precise and effective.

“As a specialist sarcoma unit, The Royal Marsden often treats patients with advanced or complex disease and this device could be useful for specific types of cases where navigation is helpful. For example, it can locate tumours that are small and deep, while also helping plan incisions on previously operated tissue. The tool’s accuracy could also help reduce margins and therefore the physical impact on patients and improve outcomes too. Looking forward, we plan to use this technology for other tumour types, including melanoma and other soft tissue sarcomas.”

Bram Schermers, CEO of Sirius Medical, said: “We are excited that Sirius Pintuition is being used in the sarcoma field. We look forward to broadening the use of our device in other types of surgeries as we continue to advance the oncology space with Sirius Pintuition.”

Last year, The Royal Marsden was the first hospital in the UK to use Sirius Pintuition to help guide a breast cancer surgery.

About The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

The Royal Marsden opened its doors in 1851 as the world’s first hospital dedicated to cancer diagnosis, treatment, research and education. 
Today, together with its academic partner, The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), it is the largest and most comprehensive cancer centre in Europe seeing and treating over 59,000 NHS and private patients every year.  It is a centre of excellence with an international reputation for groundbreaking research and pioneering the very latest in cancer treatments and technologies.
The Royal Marsden, with the ICR, is the only National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre for Cancer. This supports pioneering research work carried out over a number of different cancer themes.
The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity raises money solely to support The Royal Marsden, a world-leading cancer centre.  It ensures Royal Marsden nurses, doctors and research teams can provide the very best care and develop life-saving treatments, which are used across the UK and around the world.
From funding state-of-the-art equipment and ground-breaking research, to creating the very best patient environments, The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity will never stop looking for ways to improve the lives of people affected by cancer.

About Sirius Medical

Sirius Medical is a spin-off from the Netherlands Cancer Institute that was founded in 2017.  We aim to develop a precise, more efficient and affordable method for breast cancer localization. In a short period of time, Sirius Medical has undergone an enormous transformation for a MedTech startup. The Pintuition System was developed in just three years, the system is CE marked and FDA cleared and ready to offer to medical professionals. Sirius Medical is rapidly expanding with an international sales network in Europe and USA. | @SiriusMedical | #pintuition