What are DC Beads?
DC Bead® is an embolic Drug-Eluting Bead capable of loading and releasing in a controlled manner chemotherapeutic agents.
Chemoembolisation or transarterialchemoembolisation (TACE) is used in the treatment of hypervascularised malignant tumours (for example, primary liver tumours) and malignant colorectal cancer metastasised to the liver. TACE therapy combines chemotherapy drugs with embolisation.
How do DC Beads work?
DC Beads are produced from a biocompatible polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) hydrogel that has been modified with sulphonate groups for the controlled loading and delivery of chemotherapeutic drugs. The DC Beads occlude the blood flow to the targeted tissue and delivers a local and sustained dose of drug direct to the tumour. The primary aim of this procedure is to embolise the tumour i.e. to reduce or cut off its blood supply, thus controlling its growth and spread.
Cutting off the blood supply to the liver tumour in this way is possible due to the fact that the liver receives only approximately 25% of its blood supply via the hepatic artery, and the remaining 75% is supplied via the portal vein. The blood supply to a liver tumour is 95% supplied via the hepatic artery. This allows the tumour to be embolised, depriving it of blood, whilst the supply to the remainder of the liver is maintained through the portal vein, and liver function may be preserved.
How is DC Beads Given?
DC Beads are directly administered through a minimally invasive (non-surgical) procedure performed by an interventional radiologist in the angiography suite. The DC Bead treatment is administered to patients via a catheter which is introduced through a small incision made in the groin and then introduced into the femoral artery and guided to the hepatic artery within the liver, while the patient is under sedation and local anaesthetic.
During the procedure a contrast medium is injected through the catheter and detailed images of the livers blood vessels are captured using X-rays. Once the Interventional Radiologist is happy with the catheter placement the DC Beads are injected. The DC Beads embolise the vessels they are injected into and the chemotherapeutic agent elutes out of the DC Beads over a 14 day period.
The procedure usually involves little discomfort and approximately takes 1-2 hours.
What happens after DC Beads?
After the DC Bead procedure the catheter is removed from your groin, a small dressing and firm pressure will be applied for around 10-15 minutes. You will be asked to lie flat for around 4 hours to prevent any bleeding from the groin.
The patient is then transferred to the Hospital ward for 1-2 days for observation.
What are the side effects of DC Beads?
All patients will have some degree of post-embolisation syndrome that consists of abdominal pain, low-grade fever, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms are usually worse in the first 24-48 hours and gradually subside over the first week. Medications will be subscribed by your physician to control these symptoms.