Dr. Eyal Shteyer, a Hadassah Medical Center pediatric gastroenterologist, is engaged in groundbreaking research that could eventually lead to more effective treatment for liver cancer and better survival rates following surgery to remove the tumor.
Dr. Shteyer’s innovation, now being tested in mice, involves the use of special surgical sponges to protect and help the liver renew itself following massive injury. Often, cancerous tumors of the liver are too large to be removed in totality and the cells remaining create a significant risk of liver failure. Dr. Shteyer has found that the sponges, called scaffolds, have reduced the risk of liver cell death in mice and enhanced the animals’ survival following liver failure.With the use of these scaffolds, he discovered, the mice can survive with only 10 percent of their liver. If the same results can be achieved in people, Dr. Shteyer explains, surgeons would be able to extract larger portions of the cancerous liver and ensure that patients survive the surgery’s after-effects.