Soundwaves could slash side effects of chemo
London - The cruel side effects of chemotherapy could be dramatically reduced by a treatment being tested in Britain.
Chemotherapy affects all cells that grow and divide quickly in the body. This includes cancer cells and normal cells, such as the new blood cells in the bone marrow or the cells in the mouth, stomach, skin, hair and reproductive organs. When chemotherapy damages normal cells, this causes side effects.
Most side effects are short-term and can be managed. They tend to gradually improve once treatment stops and the normal, healthy cells recover. Sometimes, chemotherapy causes long-term side effects that don't go away. These may include damage to your heart, lungs, nerve endings, kidneys, or reproductive organs
Karen Childs, who has liver cancer, has become the world’s first patient to receive acoustic cluster therapy.
It targets chemotherapy directly into tumours. In traditional treatments the drugs travel around the body, producing side-effects such as hair loss, severe fatigue and nausea.
The new treatment sees patients injected with clusters of microdroplets and microbubbles with the chemotherapy. The clusters react to ultrasound waves and more drugs are taken up by the tumour.
It is being tested at the Royal Marsden and the Institute of Cancer Research in London.
Childs, of London, was diagnosed in November 2013. She said: ‘I’m not sure it’s sunk in yet that I’m the first patient in the world to be receiving this. It would make a big difference to patients’ lives.’
Professor Udai Banerji, of the ICR and Royal Marsden, said: ‘We’re hopeful we can help open up a much-needed new option for patients.’