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New Cancer Treatments

On the left is a 75-year-old smoker who raised five kids. On the right is a 57-year-old mother who rarely smoked.

Both have lung cancer and are undergoing two different cutting edge treatments.

Hurly Eliff is undergoing TomoTherapy. The machine three-dimensionally locates the tumor and delivers a highly concentrated blast of radiation.

"What happens is you save the healthy lung and at the same time, kill the small tumor,” Radiation Oncologist Dr. Anil Sharma said.

There are only a few dozen of these machines in the world. One of them is right here in Orlando at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. Robert Nagourney is treating Virginia Filipan at the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in California.

Instead of giving the same kind of chemotherapy to a broad range of patients, the staff developed a unique program to examine a patient's tissue sample and individually tailor treatment.

"We have labs where we can isolate cancer cells and measure the effect of drugs better than virtually anyone else," Dr. Nagourney said.

They basically biopsy the patient, remove a piece of the tumor and expose it to all kinds of drug combinations in a test tube, and find the ones that work best at killing their cancer.

In Virginia's case, it's a pill she takes once a day.

"I walked in this hospital in a walker, the day of my biopsy, because I couldn't walk by myself,” Virginia said. “And now I have no problems walking."

That's a look at Your Health,

Nancy Gay, Central Florida News 13.

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