A new study contributes to the findings of liver cancer. Investigators at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine report findings on a potential new treatment for this ghastly cancer. In the study, researchers injected a compound called 3-bromopyruvate directly into the artery that leads to the cancerous tumor. They say it did not adversely affect the healthy portion of the liver or surrounding cells. When they compared the effects of this treatment to a commonly used technique called chemoembolization, which delivers chemo to the tumor and blocks off the artery, they found encouraging results. The researchers observe that with 3-bromopyruvate in the rabbits, healthy liver seems to be spared, but sections of healthy liver were damaged by chemoembolization.
Doctors felt, at this time, the test is very experimental and has only been tested in animals. Many more studies will need to be completed before it can be tested on humans. Doctors are still unsure of how the drug damages the tumor while protecting healthy tissue.
According to researchers, these early findings are hopeful news to the more than 12,000 patients who will find out this year they have liver cancer. Many of these cases have spread from other organs and doctors feel that particular form of the disease, known as metastatic, is ghastly. Patients can sometimes die within six months. The researchers from Johns Hopkins say that the research will be on to find new treatment options.