Interventional Radiology first in the region to use revolutionary cancer treatment

Laurie Yonkers thought it was heartburn when she started having chest pains in 2022. Instead, it was a rare kind of cartilage cancer called chondrosarcoma. 

Today, Yonkers is bedridden – caused by pressure a tumor is putting on her spinal cord. But a new treatment called Aliya by Galvanize is giving Yonkers and patients like her hope.

“Using imaging guidance, we insert a needle into a target area, and it delivers an electrical pulse,” says Joe McBride, MD, Nebraska Medicine interventional radiologist. “It kills the intended target by poking several holes in the cells that are to be treated.”

Yonkers was the first patient to receive this treatment in an 11-state region surrounding Nebraska. Instead of previous procedures that would use microwave heat and extreme cold, this uses an electrical pulse that keeps healthy tissue intact while killing cancer cells, says Dr. McBride. 

Not only does the treatment work to kill cancer cells, it could teach your immune system to better identify cancer elsewhere in your body.

Dr. McBride says research is still being done to determine if that is the case, but there is some evidence showing positive results in that regard.

Yonkers will return to the med center soon to see how effective the treatment has been thus far. But she’s not worried about how new the treatment is. Instead, she’s optimistic she’ll be able to live longer than the five years she was originally given.

You can watch the story KETV’s Bill Schammert did about Yonkers’s treatment and see more photos from the procedure below.

Joe McBride, MD, leads the team performing the new procedure.
The electrical pulses are delivered via these needles.
There are a number of cancers for which this treatment may be effective.