A team of British doctors has managed to save the life of a woman in Liverpool suffering from an incurable liver cancer thanks to a pioneering surgery through which they rebuilt her liver by using cow's heart tissue.
Michelle Morgan-Grainger was diagnosed with a rare and incurable form of liver cancer back in October 2010.
While she was initially told by doctors that the cancer could not be cured, she underwent a pioneering form of surgery at the Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust where the doctors removed the tumor along with a large portion of her Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) and went on to reconstruct the major blood vessel by using tissue, known as bovine pericardium, from a cow's heart.
"This was a long and complex procedure and is offered only in a handful of places around the world. There are only five centres in Europe with experience in such cases. To date about 150 patients have been treated worldwide. The bovine patch has been used in heart surgery for a while but employed in just six liver surgery cases, four of which we've performed", the consultant hepatobiliary surgeon, Hassan Malik said.