New Melanoma Treatment: Saving Lives and Limbs | Medical News and Health Information
New Melanoma Treatment: Saving Lives and Limbs -- Research SummaryBACKGROUND: Isolated limb infusion (ILI) is a procedure used to deliver anticancer drugs directly to an arm or leg but not to the rest of the body. The flow of blood to and from the limb is temporarily stopped with a tourniquet (a tight band around the limb). This allows for large doses of chemotherapy medications to be administered without poisoning the rest of the body.
Catheters (small, flexible tubes) attached to a pump are put into an artery and a vein in the limb so that blood can be circulated through the pump into the limb. High doses of anticancer drugs are then injected into the catheters.
The procedure is used to control advanced melanoma or soft tissue sarcoma of the extremity. (Source: The Institute for Cancer Care at Mercy Hospital)
TREATMENT OPTIONS: ILI is preferred to other methods of treatment because it helps avoid amputation of the cancerous arm or leg. There is no other effective chemotherapy that can prevent this tumor from growing. Without treatment it will eventually become large, non-healing wounds with bleeding craters and repeated infections.
In the past, one of the most effective strategies for treatment involved surgically inserting large catheters in the main vessel of the leg and perfusing high dose chemotherapy using a heart-lung machine. Today, Isolated Limb Infusion, a minimally invasive technique that uses the same principle of regional high dose chemotherapy but through smaller catheters (cardiologists use similar catheters to study vessels of the heart) is the state of the art treatment for patients with locally recurrent melanoma and some other malignances.
A majority of patients have a durable response. ILI requires cooperation between multiple services: surgical oncology, interventional radiology, operating room, anesthesia, pharmacy and others to administer this treatment safely and effectively.
The Institute for Cancer Care at Mercy is one of the few oncology centers in the country to offer this sophisticated treatment for patients with advanced melanoma, sarcoma and some other tumors of the extremities.
Tumor shrinkage can be seen in as little as 90-120 days and can be repeated if necessary. MORE
New Melanoma Treatment: Saving Lives and Limbs -- Research Summary | Medical News and Health Information
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New Melanoma Treatment: Saving Lives and Limbs -- In Depth Doctor's Interview | Medical News and Health Information