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Mayo Clinic finds early success with laser that destroys tumors with heat
Date:10/14/2010

nsplant center, and a number of patients with cirrhosis have small tumors in their liver. "We treated the tumors to keep them at bay because we could not use chemotherapy in these patients, who are quite ill and are waiting for a new liver," he says. He also adapted it for use in treating kidney tumors.

The outpatient procedure is performed inside an MRI machine, which can precisely monitor temperature inside tumors. A special nonmetal needle is inserted directly into a tumor, and the laser is turned on to deliver light energy. Physicians can watch the temperature gradient as it rises, and they can see exactly in the organ where the heat is. When the tumor and a bit of tissue that surrounds it (which may harbor cancer cells) is heated to the point of destruction which can be clearly seen on monitors the laser is turned off. In larger tumors, several needles are inserted simultaneously.

Patients are given anesthesia because, during the 2.5-minute procedure they should not move, Dr. Walser says. Post-treatment side effects include some local pain and flulike symptoms as the body reacts to, and absorbs, the destroyed tissue, he says. These side effects usually subside in three days to one week.

Dr. Walser adds that laser ablation is a much more precise technology than similar methods that use probes, such as radiofrequency ablation, which also raises a tumor's temperature, and cryotherapy, which freezes tumors.

David Woodrum, M.D., Ph.D., from Mayo Clinic, Rochester, has also reported success using the new technique.

At the March meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology, Dr. Woodrum, presented results from the first known cases of using MRI-guided laser ablation to treat prostate tumors. He said then that the safe completion of four clinical cases using the technique to treat prostate cancer in patients who had failed surgery "demonstrate
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Contact: Kevin Punsky
punsky.kevin@mayo.edu
904-953-2299
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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