ST. LOUIS – Interventional radiologists at Saint Louis University Hospital have a new alternative for liver cancer patients with Yttrium-90 (Y90) radioembolization, infusion of radiation impregnated beads therapy directly targeting cancer cells without an external beam.
In the procedure, radiologists infuse a high dose of tiny microscopic beads called radioisotope Yttrium-90 into the liver tumor through a catheter in the groin. The beads are trapped inside the tumor bed and directly destroy and kill cancer cells.
“We are able to go right into the tumor bed with no collateral damage to healthy tissue,” says Rotimi Johnson, MD, interventional radiologist at Saint Louis University Hospital and a SLUCare physician. “The particles target only the tumor.”
The beads decay inside the tumor over a period of two weeks.
Traditional radiation therapy is most commonly delivered by external beam radiation. Patients lie down as machines target the cancerous tumor. However, as the radiation is delivered from outside, it comes into contact with healthy tissue in the body.
“It’s a significant difference from radiating from the skin surface,” says Dr. Johnson. “This is all internal.”
While the concept to deliver internal radiation through brachytherapy is not new, Y90 radioembolization is relatively new to the medical landscape. The outpatient procedure is for a growing population of patients with advanced stage liver cancer.
“This is for patients with metastatic or primary liver tumors,” says Dr. Johnson. “It’s been well tolerated by our patients and they’ve been doing really well.”
About Saint Louis University Hospital
Saint Louis University Hospital is a 356-licensed bed quaternary/tertiary referral center located in the heart of the city of St. Louis. Approximately 75 percent of patients are drawn from a 150-mile radius. Through affiliation as the teaching hospital for Saint Louis University, the hospital provides patients and their families with an environment of medical innovation. Working in this endeavor are the hospital’s medical staff partners, SLUCare, the physicians of Saint Louis University. The hospital admits more than 17,000 patients annually, performs more than 200 organ transplants a year and is a Level I Trauma Center that treats more than 2,000 major trauma cases a year. For more information, please visit www.sluhospital.com.
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