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First Time in U.S.: Mount Sinai Treats Liver Cancer With Radiopaque Beads

Docs can see where the beads are placed

Mount Sinai Hospital is the first center in the U.S. to use a new cancer treatment consisting of luminescent chemotherapy-filled beads injected into tumors through the wrist. The minimally invasive treatment, using M1 LUMI beads (BTG plc) filled with doxorubicin, is available for patients with inoperable and difficult-to-treat liver cancer.

The beads were designed with technology that allows real-time tracking of the beads’ location during the embolization procedure. During the procedure, interventional radiologists use a catheter to thread the beads into blood vessels that lead to the tumor. Doctors can see where the beads are placed and can confirm that the placement will block the blood flow feeding the tumor, causing the tumor to shrink over time. The device was approved by the FDA in December 2015. Mount Sinai participated in the clinical evaluation of the LUMI beads.

“This is a game-changing tool,” said Edward Kim, MD, director of interventional oncology at Mount Sinai. “In the past, we had no way to verify where the beads were placed in the blood vessels or whether they remained in the intended location over time. Now we can see the location and adjust if a portion of the tumor has been missed while the patient is on the table without repeating the procedure. This is what we call precision targeting of tumors.”

Liver cancer is one of the most difficult-to-treat cancers, with few surgical or therapeutic options. It is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, accounting for nearly 746,000 deaths each year.

The world’s first embolization procedure using chemotherapy-filled LUMI beads was performed in London in early February. The beads were used to treat a patient with liver cancer in conjunction with Phillips 2D x-ray and 3D cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) live-image guidance.

Sources: EurekAlert; March 22, 2016; and Phillips; February 4, 2016.

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