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Thursday, April 2, 2009

New Treatment For Liver, Colon Cancer Patients

Doctors use a catheter to deliver tiny beads, called microspheres, which are coated with radiation, directly to a patient's tumor.

Some 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with liver or advanced colon cancer every year, but many of them aren't candidates for surgery or radiation. But one local hospital is using a novel new treatment, developed by a Massachusetts company, to help those patients live longer.

Annette Papa survived her battle with breast cancer 25 years ago.

So when she was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer three years ago, she never gave up hope of finding a way to beat it. "I always wondered whey they couldn't just do the area. That's what I wanted -- my prayers were answered."

Dr. Stephan Wicky is using a new radiation therapy developed by Sirtex of Wilmington, Massachusetts.

He uses a catheter to deliver tiny beads, called microspheres, which are coated with radiation, directly to a patient's tumor.

"The advantage of the catheter-directed therapy, we can deliver very locally an extremely high dose to treat these lesions," said Dr. Stephan Wicky, Mass. General Hospital.

Without this treatment, most patients like Annette are only expected to survive six months, but this new therapy is dramatically improving survival rates with minimal side effects.

Doctors say it has stopped Annette's tumor from growing.

"I can honestly say I thank God for this procedure, it's has no effect to me right now at all, I have lived my life and taken care of my children and grandchildren," said Annette.

"With this therapy, we have seen patients survive one, two three years," explained Dr. Wicky. "The other advantage we can downsize the tumor and more patients are a candidate for surgery."

Doctors are also testing this new therapy on patients with breast, ovarian and endocrine cancers and other diseases that can spread to the liver.

If you'd like more information, visit www.sirtex.com.

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