The efficacy of a therapeutic technique that can allow doctors to directly inject tumours with cancer fighting agents from inside the body is being analyzed by US scientists.
The technique called 'curvilinear EUS' uses a flexible gastrointestinal endoscope with a miniature ultrasound transducer on the tip to guide a small needle directly into a tumour.
Dr. Robert Hawes, Professor of Medicine and Peter Cotton Chair for Endoscopic Innovation at the Medical University of South Carolina, says that the new technique can prove to be a safer and more effective approach to administering chemotherapy, as it allows doctors to deliver therapy right to the tumour and avoid damaging normal surrounding tissues.
"Curvilinear endosonography will likely become the dominant technology within the field of EUS," says Dr. Hawes, who is also the co-chairman of the International Symposium of Endoscopic Ultrasonography (EUS2008), held in San Francisco from September 12 to 13.
"The potential for accurate diagnosis using ultrasound-guided biopsy, precise staging with high resolution ultrasound images and then the enormous opportunity for new therapies with the curvilinear endoscope is why we are focusing this meeting on the use of this instrument alone," he adds.
Experts believe that EUS can help physicians to detect blood flow in blood vessels in and around tumours as well as detect and biopsy tumours and lymph nodes as small as 3-5 mm, allowing doctors to avoid puncturing blood vessels when sampling tissue, get the most accurate view of the cancer and know exactly what stage a cancer is in for optimal therapy for treatment.
According to them, this can help save cancer patients with late stage disease from going through unnecessary surgery.