A SCOTTISH technology used around the world to treat warts and verrucas could also be used to fight cancer, according to a new study.

Published in The Lancet medical journal, the new medical research has suggested that the microwave technology used in Swift devices delivered “excellent results in destroying cancerous cells”.

Developed by the Stirling-based health firm Emblation, the new use for the Swift microwave device was investigated by scientists at the University of Glasgow.

Emblation said the findings showed the technology could “deliver less painful and more effective treatment for cervical cancer patients”.

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Dr Matt Kidd, the director of research and development at Emblation, said: “It’s hugely important that these results have been proven repeatedly under laboratory conditions and peer-reviewed.

“This is a first and absolutely vital step toward eventually getting tests out of the lab and into medical situations involving real patients.

“While we were delighted to provide a Swift device for the research and helped train the scientists in how to use it, we had no involvement in the experiments. So, we have been genuinely thrilled to read about the highly-promising results in The Lancet.”

The Glasgow University team used Swift devices to treat lab-grown cancer cells with precise doses of microwaves.

They found that the microwave energy “induced sustained, localised cell death at the treatment site”. They also found lower levels of protein associated with cancer-causing cells, a reduction in growth of diseased cells, and increased levels of programmed cell death in tumours.

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The Lancet report concludes: “Precision microwave delivery may present a potential new treatment for HPV-positive anogenital precancerous lesions and cancers.”

The research focused specifically on treating cervical tumour tissues associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. High-risk HPVs cause more than 99% of cervical cancers and variations of HPV also cause genital warts.

The report in the Lancet says that existing treatments of cervical cancers “are effective but invasive and painful”, adding that “in all cases, diseased tissues can be missed”.

It goes on: “A new, less invasive and painful method for treating HPV-associated anogenital disease and cancers could prove more acceptable and better tolerated by patients than current procedures and would save time and resources for clinicians and health care systems.”

Kidd added: “Our technology has already delivered game changing results in podiatry and dermatology – but all of us at Emblation believe we have only just started to unlock the true potential of microwave therapies.

“We will continue to support research whenever we can that helps show how our devices may be beneficial in treatments from cancer to cardiac conditions.”

Emblation was founded by Gary Beale and Eamon McErlean, who met during post-graduate studies at Heriot Watt university in Edinburgh.

The firm’s growth was boosted in 2021 when it was backed by London-based specialist healthcare investors at Apposite Capital.