Dr. Paul H. Sugarbaker, Chief of the Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program at Washington Hospital Center in DC, has filed a number of patent applications throughout his remarkable 40-year career. In one way or another, all of Dr. Sugarbaker’s inventions have the same goal: to greatly improve the effectiveness and safety of some of the most invasive cancer surgeries known to man. Though invasive, these procedures could actually extend the lives of patients with advanced abdominal cancers such as peritoneal mesothelioma.
One invention in particular—the Abdomino-Pelvic Perfusion and Lavage Apparatus—consists of a number of components, including pumps, that address issues ranging from heat control and fluid delivery to surgical team safety during hyperthermic perfusion procedures. According to patent specifications, one of many significant aspects of the apparatus comprises a fluid supply reservoir which serves as a source for the perfusion fluid; a first pump in hydraulic communication with the fluid supply reservoir and at least one fluid port for providing the perfusion fluid from the source to the containment vessel; a second pump in hydraulic communication with the fluid supply reservoir and at least one fluid port for returning the perfusion fluid from the containment vessel back to the source, and a heater in thermal communication with a fluid containing means to heat the perfusion fluid to a temperature of about 30.degree. C. to about 50.degree. C. during use of the containment vessel in hyperthermic peritoneal perfusion.
At least one inflow tube in hydraulic communication with the fluid port receiving the perfusion fluid from the source for providing the perfusion fluid to the well formed in the patient's abdomino-pelvic cavity is involved as well as at least one drain tube in hydraulic communication with the fluid port returning the perfusion fluid to the source and having a distal intake end extended into the well in the patient's abdomino-pelvic cavity for providing the perfusion fluid from the well. At least one temperature sensor positioned in proximity with the distal intake end of the drain tube, and in communication with a thermostatic control in communication with the heater, is involved as well.
Full details of Dr. Sugarbaker’s invention, patent history, and claims are lengthy, so check with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to learn more.
About Heated Intraperitoneal Chemoperfusion (HIPEC)
HIPEC is a procedure used to treat advanced abdominal cancers such as peritoneal mesothelioma. When combined with Cytoreductive Surgery (called the Sugarbaker Procedure), it is considered one of the most effective treatments for the disease. The procedure begins with Cytoreductive Surgery (CRS), which reduces the tumor burden within the abdomen. “Once as many tumors as possible have been removed,” explains Charles Komen Brown, MD, PhD, National Director of Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy and Medical Director of Surgery & Surgical Oncologist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, “a heated, sterilized chemotherapy solution is delivered to the abdomen to penetrate and destroy remaining cancer cells.”
According to Cancer Treatment Centers of America, “unlike systemic chemotherapy delivery, which circulates throughout the body, HIPEC delivers the chemotherapy solution directly to cancer cells in the abdomen. This allows for higher doses of chemotherapy treatment. Heating the solution may also improve the absorption of chemotherapy drugs by tumors and destroy microscopic cancer cells that remain in the abdomen after surgery.”
The solution, which is about the temperature of a warm bath (41 to 42 degrees Celsius or 107 Fahrenheit), is circulated throughout the abdomen for approximately 90 minutes. Often called “Heated Chemotherapy Bath” or “Chemo Bath,” the process is complete once the solution is drained from the abdomen and the incision is closed. Because HIPEC destroys any undetected cancer cells after tumors have been removed, thus preventing them from forming into new tumors, the hope is that cancer is less likely to recur.
One of the world’s leading experts in the diagnosis and treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma, Dr. Sugarbaker performs around 70 Sugarbaker Procedures each year. The procedure is performed around 1,500 times a year at more than 100 medical centers across the country. Advocates predict that the number of procedures could grow to 10,000 a year.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important to find the right doctor and to understand your rights.
"Apparatus and Method for Abdomino-pelvic Chemotherapy Perfusion and Lavage." U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Office of the Chief Communications Office, 02 May 2002. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.
Brown, Charles Komen, Dr. "Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC)." CancerCenter.com. Cancer Treatment Centers of America, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
"HIPEC Treatment." UC San Diego Health, Moores Cancer Center. Regents of the University of California, 2017. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.
Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC). Perf. Dr. Charles Komen Brown. N.d. Cancer Treatment Centers of America, 29 Jan. 2017. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.
Pollack, Andrew. "Hot Chemotherapy Bath: Patients See Hope, Critics Hold Doubts." The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 Aug. 2011. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.
Sugarbaker Oncology Associates. Sugarbaker Oncology Associates, 2017. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.
Washington Post. "Last-Hope Surgery." Health.HeraldTribune.com. Herald-Tribune Media Group, 31 Dec. 2012. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.