Pain Relief Technique Extends Lives

Neoplastic meningitis and hydrocephalus relieved with new therapy

(RxWiki News) The suffering can be devastating. About seven percent of people with brain cancer have headaches, confusion, seizures and other neurological problems that a new therapy may relieve.

These problems are caused by a life-threatening cancer invasion into the brain called neoplastic meningitis. When this happens, a condition called hydrocephalus occurs and spinal fluid builds up causing debilitating pressure.

Scientists at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine have developed a new combined technique to treat both neoplastic meningitis and hydrocephalus.

"Ask about the UCSD therapy that treats brain cancer complications."

This new therapy bathes the brain in chemotherapy and uses a special valve to drain excess spinal fluid.

Santosh Kesari, M.D., Ph.D, chief of neuro-oncology at UCSC Moores Cancer Center and associate professor of neurosciences at the UCSD School of Medicine explains that when cancer cells invade spaces within the brain, the cells block the flow and absorption of spinal fluid. This blockage causes the increased pressure and fluid build up.

The new technique uses what's essentially an on-off valve to deliver the chemotherapy medicine to the brain and spinal cord while draining excess fluids to the abdomen with a thin catheter.

So this method can extend the lives of patients by diverting the excess spinal fluid while treating the underlying cancer, says Bob Carter, M.D., Ph.D, UCSD chief of neurosurgery, who uses the technique for brain cancer patients at Moores Cancer Center.

The results of the multicenter study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery.

According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 22,070 new cases of primary malignant brain and central nervous system (CNS) tumors were diagnosed iN the United States in 2010.

Review Date: 
July 21, 2011