'Flash freeze' therapy being used to treat precancerous and cancerous conditions

Sadia Benzaquen, MD, interventional pulmonologist.

A multidisciplinary team of UC Health specialists is using a new technology to flash freeze tissue surfaces in the lungs and esophagus and treat patients with small tumors or dysplasia which could lead to cancer.

Sadia Benzaquen, MD, assistant professor in the division of pulmonary, critical care and at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and UC Health director of interventional pulmonology, and Valerie Williams, MD, assistant professor in the department of surgery at UC and a UC Health thoracic surgeon—both of which are members of the UC Cancer Institute's Comprehensive Lung Cancer Center—are using truFreeze (a cryotherapy technique) to freeze tissue in the lungs and esophagus that could be precancerous or cancerous.

"This sort of therapy is useful for patients who are not candidates for other conventional treatment modalities like surgery, chemotherapy or ," Williams says.

Cryotherapy uses (-196° C) to freeze and eliminate tissue that could be harmful to the patient; the nitrogen is delivered via catheter. During this process, cells are selectively destroyed while the underlying tissue structure is preserved so that healthy tissue can re-grow.

Williams says the treatment is performed every six to eight weeks for patients with high-grade dysplasia or esophageal cancers which can develop in patients with Barrett's esophagus—a disorder in which the lining of the esophagus is damaged by and changed to a lining similar to that of the stomach.

On average patients need two to three treatment sessions. This therapy helps replace the entire abnormal lining of the esophagus with normal esophageal lining.

Benzaquen is using this technology to remove in the airway. These patients have severe underlying , and it is often difficult to lower the needed for use of a laser. Benzaquen says this is another option for controlling bleeding and removal of tissue without the restriction of lowering oxygen flow.

"Most of our patients are so sick that it is really difficult to wean the oxygen to lower levels to be able to use the laser, argon plasma coagulation, which involves use of a jet of plasma directed through a probe, or cautery," he says.

"The addition of the cryotherapy technology at UC adds to the current endoscopic and surgical options we offer to provide the full spectrum of treatment options close to home for those with esophageal cancer and disease," Williams adds.

Related Stories

Reduce esophageal cancer danger by knowing risk factors

date Aug 07, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- As the American obesity epidemic has increased the past two decades, so has the rate of esophageal cancers. Clinician-scientists affiliated with the University of Cincinnati (UC) Cancer Institute say enhanced ...

Recommended for you

Spicy treatment the answer to aggressive cancer?

date Jul 03, 2015

It has been treasured by food lovers for thousands of years for its rich golden colour, peppery flavour and mustardy aroma…and now turmeric may also have a role in fighting cancer.

Cancer survivors who smoke perceive less risk from tobacco

date Jul 02, 2015

Cancer survivors who smoke report fewer negative opinions about smoking, have more barriers to quitting, and are around other smokers more often than survivors who had quit before or after their diagnosis, according to a ...

Melanoma mutation rewires cell metabolism

date Jul 02, 2015

A mutation found in most melanomas rewires cancer cells' metabolism, making them dependent on a ketogenesis enzyme, researchers at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have discovered.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.