New Targeted Chemo Kills Colorectal Cancer


CHICAGO, Ill. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Approximately 1.8 million people will be told they have cancer this year. The first line of defense usually involves chemotherapy, and the number of people who will need chemo is expected to double in the next 20 years. It’s a harsh drug that ravages the body while killing cancer cells. Now, a new study supports a delivery system used in the nineties to target some of the hardest to treat cancers such as colorectal cancer, without impacting the rest of the body. Targeted chemo

Stephen Lynch was thrown a curve ball a few years ago when a colonoscopy revealed he had cancer.

“A fear shoots through you. You go from, ‘I’m healthy’ to, ‘I have a mass.’, Stephen says.

Then, his thoughts went to his kids, Alex and Caroline.

“I wanna see them grow up, and the idea that you might have some disease that robs you of being able to see that is really sad,” Stephen expresses.

Chemo and surgery held it bay for a year, then, two lesions showed up in his liver. It had advanced to stage four. His care team at northwestern memorial hospital recommended the only FDA-approved HAI pump that delivers chemo directly to the liver. Targeted chemo

“It’s the size of a hockey puck, and we install it in the abdominal wall,” explains Director of the GI Oncology Regional Therapies Program at the Lurie Cancer Center at Northwestern Medicine. Ryan Merkow, MD.

(Read Full Interview)

A catheter attaches to the pump, delivering chemo into a main artery feeding into the liver. Targeted chemo

Dr. Merkow further explains, “It’s unique in that we can deliver very high doses of chemotherapy into the liver at concentrations of three to 400 times what the liver would normally seek compared to systemic chemotherapy.”

The chemo doesn’t exit the liver and doesn’t affect the rest of the body. With standard chemo, Stephen had a 50 percent chance of no recurrence, but with the new pump, his chances increase to 80 percent.

A recent scan showed no evidence of cancer, allowing Stephen to stop worrying about cancer and focus on his family.

Stephen emphasizes, “I know I’ve got today. I know everything’s good, right now. So, let’s live it up and enjoy that.”

Stephen Lynch is one of 106,000 new cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed each year. The rate of people being diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year has dropped significantly since the mid 1980’s, mainly due to the fact people are getting screened earlier. The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk of colorectal cancer get their first colonoscopy at age 45 and then every 10 years after that.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer & Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #5096

BACKGROUND: Cancer is a disease in which some of the body’s cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body. Cancerous tumors spread into, or invade, nearby tissues and can travel to distant places in the body to form new tumors (a process called metastasis). Cancerous tumors may also be called malignant tumors. Many cancers form solid tumors, but cancers of the blood, such as leukemias, generally do not. In 2022, there will be an estimated 1.9 million new cancer cases diagnosed and 609,360 cancer deaths in the United States.


DIAGNOSING: Signs and symptoms caused by cancer will vary depending on what part of the body is affected. Some general signs and symptoms associated with, but not specific to, cancer, include fatigue, lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin, skin changes, such as yellowing, darkening or redness of the skin, sores that won’t heal, or changes to existing moles, changes in bowel or bladder habits, and unexplained bleeding or bruising. For a few cancers, studies show that screening tests can save lives by diagnosing cancer early. For other cancers, screening tests are recommended only for people with increased risk. A variety of medical organizations and patient advocacy groups have recommendations and guidelines for cancer screening.


NEW TECHNOLOGY: A tiny group of people with rectal cancer just experienced something of a scientific miracle: their cancer simply vanished after an experimental treatment. In a very small trial done by doctors at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, patients took a drug called dostarlimab for six months. The trial resulted in every single one of their tumors disappearing. The trial group included just 18 people, and there’s still more to be learned about how the treatment worked. But some scientists say these kinds of results have never been seen in the history of cancer research. Dr. Hanna Sanoff of the University of North Carolina’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center joined NPR’s All Things Considered to outline how this drug works and what it could mean for the future of cancer research. Although she was not involved with the study, Dr. Sanoff has written about the results.



Megan McCann

(321) 926-5900

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Dr. Ryan Merkow, MD, Director of the GI Oncology Regional Therapies Program

Read the entire Q&A