Doctors targeting cancerous tumors with real-time technology

Technology helping doctors use more precise treatments

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HOUSTON – A new type of Nano bead, a medical magnet, is offering better treatment for some liver cancers.  It’s called the LUMI bead, and it lets doctors see in real time if the bead is delivered to the target.

Robert Freeman had retired  and was enjoying life when he got his cancer diagnosis. He had stage four liver cancer.  His doctor put him on chemotherapy right away.

"Every two weeks, I needed a blood transfusion, so it felt like this isn't working," Freeman said.

His doctor wanted to try a different type of therapy.

He placed Nano beads in blood vessels to block blood flow to the tumor and starve it. The results were positive.

The LUMI bead had just been FDA-approved for embolization treatment.

"It gives you positive confirmation that the particles were delivered to the location where they were intended to be delivered," Dr. Raj Narayanan explained.

The beads are filled with iodine, so they light up on scans in real time, making it easy for doctors to make adjustments during the procedure.

"If we do see there is residual blood supply that hasn't been targeted, we can go back and target it right away," Dr. Narayanan added.

It’s also easier on the body than chemo. It doesn’t require blood transfusions, and doesn’t cause hair loss.

Now, Freeman and his wife are getting another chance to enjoy life together.

"I have a lot more hope now that they can stop this, enough to give me two or three years," Freeman said.

Before the new LUMI bead, doctors would have to wait three or four weeks to figure out if the beads were in the right place, based upon how the patient was responding to the treatment.