Archive for: December 2012

First Liver Cancer ‘Chemo-Bath’ in the UK

For the first time in the UK, doctors have been able to target harmful cancer drugs to an isolated organ in the body through a “chemo-bath.”

Chemotherapy has always been a brutal form of treatment, as it kills healthy cells along with cancer cells. Regular chemotherapy involves injecting drugs into patients’ veins. The drugs thus reach the entire body. Side effects include exhaustion, nausea, hair loss, and decreased fertility.

Medical staff at Southampton General Hospital are examining how isolating a single organ for treatment can lessen devastating side effects. They are further claiming that chemo-baths will allow higher doses of the drugs to be administered without producing life-threatening damage.

Two patients suffering from a rare eye cancer that had since spread to the liver, underwent chemotherapy that targeted their livers. The recent chemo-baths required doctors to use inflated balloons within the blood vessels adjacent to the organ. The balloon separated the liver from the rest of the organs in the patient’s body.

The doctors injected chemo drugs into the liver, but cleaned them from the system before the liver’s blood supply entered the rest of the body. This prevented nearly all of the chemo medication from leaving the liver.

Dr. Brian Stedman is a consultant interventional radiologist. He praised the recent treatment, saying: “To cut off an organ from the body for 60 minutes, soak it in a high dose of drug and then filter the blood almost completely clean before returning is truly groundbreaking.”

Stedman expanded upon the benefits of chemo-baths. “Previously,” he explained, “the outlook for patients specifically suffering from cancer which has spread to the liver has been poor because standard chemotherapy’s effect is limited by the unwanted damage the drug causes to the rest of the body.”

In an interview with the BBC, Stedman said that, “In 20 years’ time the idea of injecting a drug which poisons the whole body for a cancer in just one small area will seem bonkers.”

The two patients who received chemo-bath treatment in the last quarter-year are recovering and their tumors seem to be shrinking.

According to Stedman, such a technique could be applied any organ that is easily separated from the body blood flow. This includes the kidney, pancreas, and lungs. Despite his optimism, Stedman emphasized that the treatment is still in its early phase.

Chemo-bath treatments are undergoing testing in the USA and Europe.

Roger Federer Loses Third Title in a Row to Djokovic

The 2012 tennis season ended on a low for Roger Federer as he lost his third title in a row to champion Novak Djokovic at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. In a high-stakes, high-class final at the O2 Arena in London, the 31-year-old gave it his all, but was ultimately unable to best Djokovic and went down 7-6 (8/6) 7-5.

Although Federer is the most senior player of the top four competitors in the sport, being five years older than Rafael Nadal and six years older than Djokovic and Andy Murray, he is determined to begin the 2013 season competing harder than ever.

“I think it’s the love for the game, the appreciation I get from the crowds,” he said, when asked about his commitment to the sport. “I think you need inspiration, motivation from different angles to keep you going because it isn’t that simple just to wake up every morning and go for another travel around the world, another practice, another fitness workout, another stretch.”

Another source of motivation for Federer is his ability to inspire the next generation of tennis players. He remarks, “I love playing against particularly young guys just because, to many, sometimes I’m an idol, which is very strange to me, to be honest. But it’s nice seeing them grow, see what the next generation comes up with. So, for me, that would suffice as well.”

Despite the less-than-ideal ending to this season, the Swiss star is nonetheless satisfied with what he achieved in 2012, wrapping up the year with a seventh Wimbledon title and an Olympic silver medal.

“I think it’s been a fantastic season to be part of,” he said. “Four different grand slam champions, then having the Olympics as well was obviously very unique.”

Federer will enjoy a two-week holiday before an exhibition tour in South America next month, and then he will begin his training and preparations for the 2013 season. “I need to practice a whole lot more next year,” he said. “I have some catching up to do from that standpoint.”