[MOL] freezing tumors [13388] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] freezing tumors

Thought this might be of interest...love, joicy

(The article can be found at:

http://vh1459.infi.net/region/docs/tumors072998.htm  )

Freezing technique can destroy some tumors 

                             THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 

                             JACKSON - A University of Mississippi
Medical Center radiologist is using a new
                             method to treat cancer patients to spare
them the side affects associated with
                             chemotherapy and radiation.

                             Using an MRI-guided cryoablation, a new
instrument manufactured in Israel, Dr. Patrick
                             Sewell destroyed two tumors in the body of
Willie Henderson, 49.

                             It was the first time the procedure was used
in the United States, Sewell said.

                             Henderson underwent surgery at UMC in March
to remove a lemon-sized tumor from his
                             left lung. 

                             Radiation treatments followed, but Henderson
began experiencing pain in his right thigh
                             in May. The tumor had spread.

                             The primary option was chemotherapy and more
radiation. Conventional surgery wasn't
                             a good option.

                             Sewell told oncologists that he wanted to
remove the tumor in Henderson's thigh by
                             freezing it with a new instrument that was
still awaiting approval from the Food and Drug

                             During the three weeks it took the FDA to
approve the use of the new instrument,
                             Henderson developed another secondary tumor
deep in his right shoulder. 

                             The pain was so intense that Henderson could
not even lift a fork to feed himself.

                             Sewell froze and destroyed the tumors in two
different procedures, getting the tumor in
                             the thigh on July 7, and then the shoulder
tumor on July 16, UMC officials said Monday.

                             The cryoblation tool is guided by the
interventional MRI. Sewell made a small incision in
                             Henderson's skin and threaded the tube -
with the freezing tip at the end - to the tumor.

He traced its path on the MRI screen.

                             When the sheathed freezing tip reached the
tumor, Sewell removed the sheath and
                             activated the tip. The tip reaches a cold
temperature of negative 186 degrees Celsius.

                             The time it takes to freeze a tumor depends
on the size of the tumor and the amount of
                             blood flow. In Henderson's case, it took
Sewell about 30-40 minutes to freeze the tumor
                             and two minutes to thaw it using pressurized

                             By using the MRI, Sewell knows when the
tumor is frozen and when it has thawed.

                             The doctor also minimizes the possibility of
destroying normal tissue.

                             "When water freezes, the crystals rupture
the cell membrane of the tumor. It just
                             explodes," Sewell said. "There is also some
evidence that freezing stimulates the immune
                             system to marshal the body's own defense
mechanisms against the tumor."

                             The interventional MRI team in Quebec has
used the same device to freeze breast
                             malignancies before surgical removal.

                             Sewell said the interventional MRI is
crucial to the process.

                             "Without it, there is no way we could
visualize exactly what we're freezing," Sewell said.

                             The procedure isn't a cancer cure, but the
doctor said that it can improve the quality of life
                             for patients while "reducing or eliminating
the constant need for pain medicine." 
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