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Tiny Chemo Beads Boost Liver Cancer Outcomes
Date:1/20/2009

radiologist at St. Joseph's, said in an ISET news release. "The more isolated the tumor and its blood vessel feeders, the better the chance for a complete cure."

An Italian study showed positive results with "HepaSphere" beads, which expand once stuck in the vessels to better block blood flow while also delivering chemo agents directly into the tumor. More than 86 percent of the 53 liver cancer patients in that trial showed a complete response to the therapy after six months.

"Patients who still had good liver function and who had tumors in only one lobe of the liver did better with this treatment," Dr. Maurizio Grosso, chairman of the department of radiology at Santa Croce and Carle Hospital in Cuneo, Italy, said in the same news release. "We're hopeful that treatment with HepaSphere will be an improvement over traditional chemoembolization."

Even without chemotherapy added to the beads, the embolization technique showed promise in a different Italian study. About half of 34 primary liver tumors shrunk within one month in patients given non-chemo "Embozene" microspheres alone. The other half showed no signs of tumor growth.

In a group of 16 tumors observed over the next six to 12 months, two completely disappeared, seven shrunk, two remained the same size, and five grew. Those that grew, though, were still small enough for additional localized treatments to be tried.

"One of the main benefits of Embozene microspheres is the precise, well-calibrated sizing, which match the small blood vessels that feed the tumors. The larger the particles used, the further away the embolization from the tumor and the less effective the treatment will be," Dr. Franco Orsi, chief of interventional radiology at the European Institute of Oncology in Italy, said in the same news release. "Moreover, embolization without drugs usually causes few or no post-treatment side effects, and patient can usually be discharged the next d
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