Moffitt Cancer Center Offers TheraSphere® For Inoperable Primary Liver Cancer

May 19, 2010

Tampa, FL– About 18,160 Americans will die of primary liver cancer every year, but Moffitt Cancer Center is offering new hope for inoperable liver cancer patients such as John Jablonski. The 81-year-old was diagnosed with primary liver cancer in 2007 and initially given six to 12 months to live.

Jablonski’s diagnosis did not include many treatment options, but when he turned to Moffitt, he was given a second chance by a procedure called radioembolization with Yttrium 90, or TheraSphere®.

TheraSphere® is a therapy developed by MDS Nordion. It destroys cancer cells mainly by local radiation therapy and secondarily by blockage of blood flow to the tumor. “TheraSphere provides effective tumor response by combining the effect of  radiation and blockage of the blood flow to the tumor for inoperable patients with primary liver tumors,” saidDr. Bulent Arslan, interventional radiologist in the department of Diagnostic Imaging.

The treatment involves administration of millions of tiny radioactive Yttrium-90 glass beads that emit radiation through the arteries that feeds the liver and the tumor. These radioactive beads attack cancerous tumors with minimal effect on healthy tissues. The therapy shrinks the cancer, sometimesmaking more patients eligible for surgery or a transplant.

“Many patients with liver tumors, who were previously told that they did not have options, could benefit from this procedure,” Arslan said.“This procedure takes us one step further in the fight against cancer.”

Jablonski couldn’t agree more. “TheraSphere® gave me 10 more years. I feel like a young man again,” he said.

Jablonski continues his treatments at Moffitt and combines his therapy with a healthy lifestyle. “It physically makes me feel better, and little by little I am regaining strength,” he said. “I live with hope.”

TheraSphere® is improving patient survival rates with some common side effects including mild to moderate fatigue, pain and nausea, loss of appetite, and temporary changes in some blood tests. The treatment is minimally invasive, and most patients are able to continue their daily activities within 24 hours of treatment.

This procedure is effective in about 70 to 80 percent of patients and is approved by the FDA under humanitarian device exemption. It can be safely performed in patients with portal vein occlusion when this would be a high risk for chemoembolization, which is an alternative treatment option. TheraSphere® is accepted by most insurance policies and Medicaid. For information on the treatment, call (813) 745-8425.

For information on liver cancer, visit the National Cancer Institute.

About MDS Nordion

MDS Nordion, a business unit of MDS Inc., is a global leader in providing products and services for medical imaging and radiotherapeutics, and sterilization technologies for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. MDS Nordion’s products and services are used on a daily basis by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, medical-device manufacturers, hospitals, clinics and research laboratories and benefit the lives of

millions of people in more than 70 countries around the world. Find out more at

About Moffitt Cancer Center

Located in Tampa, Florida, Moffitt Cancer Center  is an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center - a designation that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research and contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt currently has 15 affiliates in Florida, one in Georgia and two in Puerto Rico. Additionally, Moffitt is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a prestigious alliance of the country’s leading cancer centers, and is listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer. Moffitt’s sole mission is to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.