Cancer specialists have hailed a 'landmark moment' for treatment after doctors bathed two patients' livers with chemotherapy drugs.
It is the first time that patients in the UK have received the targeted chemotherapy treatment on just one organ.
Doctors at Southampton General Hospital who pioneered the treatment say the technique could reduce side-effects by limiting the exposure of healthy tissue to the drugs.
Chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells but attack healthy cells as well, causing unpleasant side-effects (file picture)
This means higher doses could be given without causing damage to the patient.
Dr Brian Stedman, a consultant interventional radiologist, has performed the 60-minute treatment on two patients.
The liver was separated using two balloons to divert the blood supply past the organ.
Following the treatment, known as chemosaturation therapy or percutaneous hepatic perfusion (PHP), the blood from the liver was drained from the patient and processed through a filtration machine to reduce toxicity before it was returned to the patient via the jugular vein.
Results of a recent study in the US showed patients who received PHP survived five times longer before the disease - metastatic melanoma - progressed than those who had standard chemotherapy.
The targeted chemo-bath treatment has been performed in the UK for the first time at Southampton General Hospital
Dr Stedman said: 'To cut off an organ from the body for 60 minutes, soak it in a high dose of drug and then filter the blood almost completely clean before returning is truly groundbreaking.
'Previously, the outlook for patients specifically suffering from cancer which has spread to the liver has been poor because the effect of standard chemotherapies is limited by the unwanted damage the drug causes to the rest of the body.'
Dr Stedman, who is the lead for pancreatic and hepatobiliary cancer in Southampton, added that the treatment could go on to be used for a number of other cancers, including colon, breast and melanoma.
In addition to studies in the US, the technique has been used in Germany, Italy, Ireland and France.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2231650/Breakthrough-chemo-bath-treatment-prolongs-life-delivering-cancer-drugs-just-organ.html#ixzz2C2dpfP9d
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