Columbia University Medical Center is helping to lead a new clinical trial examining the effectiveness of using laser therapy to treat early-stage breast cancer. This new research involves a non-surgical treatment called, Novilase® Interstitial Laser Therapy (ILT).

Novilase Breast Therapy is already cleared by the FDA for the treatment of breast fibroadenomas, which are the most common form of benign (non-cancerous) breast tumor. This multi-center international clinical trial follows a successful feasibility trial at Rush University (Chicago, IL) using laser to treat breast tumors.

The study will test the ability of the laser to ablate (destroy) breast cancers that are equal to or less than 2 centimeters in size. Approximately 50% of breast cancer patients are estimated to qualify for inclusion in the study. Click here for more information on the clinical trial and see below for an an animated video of the Novilase procedure.

Traditionally, early-stage breast cancers have been removed by surgery, i.e., lumpectomy, which can unfavorably affect the look and feel of the breast. Destroying the tumor with a laser may have advantages that include:

    • Minimal scarring
    • Less chance of infection
    • Much shorter recovery time
    • Preservation of natural shape (i.e., cosmetic appearance) and feel of the breast

“The goal of the laser treatment is to provide a safe and effective alternative to lumpectomy that is less disruptive to the patient’s life in multiple ways,” said Margaret Chen, M.D., FACS, the breast surgeon heading the clinical trial at Columbia. “A laser treatment is potentially more convenient and less painful, without permanent changes to the woman’s breast. This research will help determine if some women with early-stage breast cancer can avoid surgery and access these advantages in the future.”

After patients receive the Novilase procedure, participants will have post-ablation imaging and surgery at or around 28 days following laser ablation. A sentinel lymph node biopsy, if indicated, as part of normal standard of care may be performed at the time of surgery or prior to laser ablation. Following surgery, the patient will proceed with recommended adjuvant or systemic therapy (i.e., radiation and/or chemotherapy). The patient will return for annual follow-up visits with their surgeon. Taking part in a research study is entirely voluntary and a patient’s decision to join or not to join the clinical research study will not affect any medical benefits.

The clinical trial sponsor, Novian Health Inc., has designed, tested, and patented a minimally invasive device called, Novilase that uses laser energy to destroy tumors. All research related expenses are paid for by the study sponsor and at no cost to the patients participating. Patients and the insurance company will be responsible only for the standard-of-care procedures and services.

The results of the Novilase Clinical Trial may be published in clinical journals and shared with government regulatory agencies, as part of the process of seeking FDA approval for the treatment of malignant breast tumors with Novilase Interstitial Laser Therapy.

To learn more, call (212) 851-4880 or visit the website of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at and the Novilase website at More information on the trial can also be found at: (# NCT01478438).


BlogTalkRadio Recap: Breast Cancer in Asian-American Women

by Columbia Surgery on March 8, 2013

Did you miss the highly popular BlogTalkRadio program on Breast Cancer in Asian American Women on February 27?

Listen to internet radio with ColumbiaSurgery on Blog Talk Radio

This special talk featured Margaret Chen, MD, FACS, Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery at New-York Presbyterian/Columbia’s Clinical Breast Cancer Program. Dr. Chen is a highly experienced breast surgeon whose primary interest is in minimally invasive breast surgery. She has a special interest in the genetics of breast cancer in Asian women and is nationally known for her outreach and education about this topic.

Also joining the program were Dr. Ming-der Chang, Vice President of American Cancer Society, Eastern Division Asian Initiatives, and Ms. Jessy Lau, Director of Patient & Family Services of American Cancer Society, Eastern Division Asian Initiatives.

The program focused on the dramatic increase of breast cancer in Asian American women, and the fact that it often strikes this population at far younger ages than non-Asians.

The panel answered listeners’ questions about topics including:

  • How the risk of breast cancer is affected by immigrating from China to the U.S.;
  • The risks of radiation from mammograms versus ultrasound;
  • Advice on how to share the news of breast cancer diagnosis with family members;
  • Role of soy and vitamins in breast cancer prevention;
  • Advice for a 65-year old woman diagnosed with aggressive cancer who does not want to undergo chemotherapy, and much more.

Join the conversation next time! The Department of Surgery BlogTalkRadio Channel covers a diverse range of topics and are open to all who wish to listen and submit questions.


Breast Cancer in Asian American Women: Incidence, Risk Factors, and Prevention

February 5, 2013

TweetWe are very pleased to announce that Dr. Ming-der Chang from the American Cancer Society – Asian Initiatives will be joining us for this program. While Asian women have among the lowest incidences of breast cancer, that incidence is rising dramatically both in Asians abroad as well as in Asian Americans. What’s more, it tends […]

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Division of Breast Surgery Welcomes Margaret Chen, MD, FACS

January 24, 2013

Tweet Margaret Chen, MD, FACS, is Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery in the Clinical Breast Cancer Program as of January 1, 2013. Dr. Chen is a highly experienced breast surgeon whose primary interest is in minimally invasive breast surgery. She will be leading the division’s upcoming trial of laser ablation of breast tumors. Dr. Chen […]

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U.S. News & World Report Recognizes 33 Top Doctors at NYP/Columbia Department of Surgery

September 21, 2012

TweetCongratulations to the thirty three surgeons at the Department of Surgeon for being recognized by U.S. News & World Report in their 2012 list of Top Doctors. Of these top-ranked surgeons, U.S. News further identified seventeen physicians as being in the top one percent in the nation in their specialties. U.S. News & World Report’s […]

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NY Magazine Recognizes 16 Top Docs at NYP/Columbia

June 7, 2012

TweetCongratulations to sixteen surgeons at the Department of Surgery for being named top doctors by New York Magazine. This annual list recognizes 1160 physicians from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut who are considered top in their fields of expertise. This year, the magazine recognized faculty from nine divisions at NYP/Columbia Department of Surgery: Plastic […]

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Colin’s Kids: Mothers of babies with congenital heart defects form non-profit to aid other families, fund research

May 31, 2012

TweetIn 2008, two families met in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian, their infant sons each fighting for their lives. Andrew King, born with Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA), underwent surgery at four days old and is thriving today. Colin Molloy, born with hypoplastic left heart […]

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Pediatric VADs: Toward the Goal of Destination Therapy

March 5, 2012

TweetAs advanced has the science of organ transplantation has become, transplants are nevertheless limited by the availability of organs. We can give a patient a new heart, and a new lease on life, as long as there is a heart to give – and if patients can just wait long enough. But some people don’t […]

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New Ventricular Assist Device, PediMag, Safely Supports Children in Need of Heart Transplantation

September 23, 2011

TweetVentricular Assist Devices (VADs) are small pumps that take over the work of the heart in pumping the blood through the body. Patients who need a heart transplant, but for whom there is no donor heart available, might be given a VAD for what’s called a bridge-to-transplant while they wait for a donor. PediMag, the […]

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