Cutting Off Cancer That Can't be Cut Out

FRESNO, Calif.

When it comes to making things grow, Andrea Suhor has plenty of patience. But no so much with her health. She's fighting a rare neuro-endocrine cancer that hasn't responded to traditional therapy.

"I'm ready to move forward. This is my life, and I feel like it's on hold right now until we can get started and get it under control," Andrea said. "I'm a fighter."

After surgery to eliminate as much of her tumor as possible, Andrea's ready to begin an experimental treatment pioneered by LSU surgeon doctor Eugene Woltering. The treatment targets her cancer by stopping new blood vessels that support tumor growth.

"If we can prevent that from happening, the tumor stays exactly the same size as it is todayforever and ever," Eugene Woltering, M.D., a professor of surgery at LSU Health Sciences Center, said.

Tiny pieces of Andrea's tumor were tested with dozens of anti-angiogenics drugs that stop growth of new blood vessels.

"All these that are real long lines, the drug didn't have any effect,." Andrea said.

A graph tells them what didn't work and what did, even if it's not a drug.

"What else we have is black raspberry syrup," Dr. Woltering said.

This experimental syrup made from black raspberry powder suppressed blood vessel growth in up to 60 percent of patients. The goal is to stop tumor growth long-term, without toxic side-effects by blocking the growth of new blood vessels.

"We can control the growth of cancer, keep the patient with a high quality of life and a longquantity of life," Dr. Woltering said.

Controlling cancer, so patients like Andrea can have a long, healthy life and plenty of time to stop and smell the roses. LSU is one of several medical centers exploring this new approach to cancer. It's still investigational and is not considered to be appropriate for all types of cancer or all cancer patients. But it could mean some cancers could be treated more like a chronic disease, something like diabetes, where treatment involves a long-term plan of control and prevention.

If you would like more information, please contact:
Leslie Capo, Media Relations
LSU Health Sciences Center
(504) 568-4806

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