Doctor says invention for liver surgery could be used to cure cancer patients
A top doctor in the field of liver transplantation has suggested a new device meant to increase the success rate of such procedures could also be used to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy for cancer patients.
He Xiaoshun, vice-president of the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, along with his team, invented a device that can keep organs viable outside the human body with uninterrupted blood flow. The device, which can be used to store organs for up to a week, has been used in the liver transplants of 14 patients since July. The organ recipients, who ranged in age from 27 to 69 and included a Hong Kong resident, have all been discharged from the hospital in Guangzhou.
He said he believes the device could also be used in other treatments, such as for cancer patients.
"Currently, treatments not only target the afflicted organs, but the whole human body. For example, a liver cancer patient usually finds he or she is very weak after having received chemotherapy," the surgeon said.
"That is because the other healthy organs and cells have also been seriously affected by the chemotherapy treatment to cure the liver disease," said He, who is also the top expert in the hospital's organ transplant center.
"If our device can be put into clinical use, other organs of a liver cancer patient will remain intact while only the affected liver will receive chemotherapy outside the body."
The liver can be transplanted back into the body after cancer cells have been neutralized via chemotherapy, and doctors have used tests to prove that the cancer-stricken organs have become healthy after treatments outside the body, he said.