Sunday, May 10, 2009

New Treatment for Ocular Melanoma

Ok been a few years. The interface has definitely improved since I last posted anything here that's for sure. I hope to improve my posting frequency in 2009. Won't be too hard to beat 2008. I've already just done that.

There's a possible new treatment for ocular melanoma (melanoma in the eyes!) called percutaneous hepatic perfusion and if approved by the FDA could be available in 2010. Supposed to have minimal side effects.

The fast-growing cancer needed an aggressive treatment. Dr. Richard Alexander of the University of Maryland Medical Center chose to bombard Larry's liver with chemotherapy.

"Essentially just flood the liver with a dose of chemo that you could not possibly tolerate if you had to give it intravenously," he said.

The experimental treatment targets the liver with a dose of chemo that's 10 times stronger than usual. Doctors then filter the drug out of the blood.

"We sent it through a filtration system outside of the patient and give it back to the patient without chemotherapy in it, so this really avoids the unnecessary side effects and toxicity of the chemo distributed to the rest of the body," Alexander said.

A pilot study revealed significant regression of cancer in more than half of patients treated. Larry is hopeful after having three of the four required treatments.

"They told me 70% of my cancer was gone," he said. "I got a 17-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old son and me and the man upstairs have talked about it and I'm going to see my children graduate from college."

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