Liver cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world and a very aggressive and difficult to treat form of the disease. Surgical treatments include removing any cancerous tumors from the organ or performing a liver transplant. Both of these treatment options are risky and not guaranteed to work. Transplant surgery means that patients are taking on a lifetime of medication to suppress their immune system.
Chemotherapy and or radiation are also given, but the side effects from the powerful drugs that must be given to defeat liver cancer are almost worse than the disease. New research at the University of Missouri is using nanotechnology (the ability to make things incredibly small) to defeat liver cancer. Small particles of gold are placed in the bloodstream and these particles attract cancerous and even precancerous cells. The patient is then treated with lasers that target only the gold particles, killing the cancer and leaving health tissue unscathed. This technology could revolutionize how cancer is treated.