A BRITON has become the first patient in the world to undergo a revolutionary treatment in which a high dose of chemotherapy is injected into cancer cells.
Karen Childs is taking part in a clinical trial for acoustic cluster therapy to treat cancer that has spread to her liver.
During the procedure, clusters of tiny bubbles and droplets are injected at the same time as chemotherapy, where they work to boost its delivery to the cancer cells. Ultrasound scans are used to ensure the clusters ‘pump’ more of the drug into the tumour without attacking healthy cells.
As a result, it is hoped patients will need fewer doses of chemotherapy in future, reducing the risk of side-effects.
The technique is being tested by the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.
Ms Childs, of north-west London, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, said: ‘This trial is an exciting step for the hospital and a huge step for patients like me.
‘It really would make a big difference to patients’ lives if side-effects could be reduced in the future using more targeted treatments like this. It’s an incredible opportunity and the staff at the Royal Marsden have been amazing.’
The therapy is being used to treat patients with tumours in the liver that have spread from the bowel or pancreas. Eventually, it could be used to reduce the size of tumours before surgery.
Prof Jeffrey Bamber, who led the work to develop the technology at the ICR, said: ‘We’re delighted that our work has progressed to the point where the technology is now being assessed in patients for the first time. We expect eventually to be able to both treat tumours more effectively and reduce the rate and severity of side-effects.’