When radioactive beads are injected into the artery feeding the livers of colorectal cancer patients, the time before liver tumors get worse increases, as well as the time to overall cancer progression in the body.
In a process called radioembolization, resin beads loaded with yttrium-90, a radioactive isotope, are injected directly to the large artery leading to the liver (hepatic artery). They travel to the tiny blood vessels around liver tumors and emit radiation for about 14 days.
Because tumors receive their blood supply primarily through the hepatic artery while healthy liver receives blood through the portal vein, healthy liver tissue is spared radiation.
The yttrium-90 radioembolization treatment is known as selective internal radiation therapy(SIRT) or SIR-Spheres. Read the rest of this entry »