A man with terminal lung cancer saved by a double transplant

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A man with terminal lung cancer saved by a double transplant

Patient Albert Khoury is a 54-year-old non-smoker.

American doctors announced on Thursday that they had succeeded in performing a double lung transplant on a man suffering from terminal lung cancer.

The patient in question, Albert Khoury, a 54-year-old non-smoker, spent seven hours on the operating table to receive his new lungs, at Northwestern Medicine Hospital in Chicago on September 25, 2021.

Six months later, his new lungs are functioning well and no traces of cancer cells were found in his body.

Lung transplants are extremely rare for lung cancer, with very few documented examples, Ankit Bharat, chief thoracic surgeon at Northwestern Medicine, said in a statement.

For patients with stage 4 cancer, lung transplantation is considered absolutely out of the question, but since Albert's cancer was confined to his chest, we were confident that we could rid him of all cancer cells during the operation and save his life.

Surgeons are generally reluctant to perform this type of transplant because the risk of relapse in a patient who must take immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection of the transplant is very high. high if even a few cancerous cells remain in the body.

The first few such operations failed, but doctors now know more about how cancers spread.

Albert Khoury's symptoms appeared in early 2020: back pain, sneezing, chills, coughing…

This Chicago construction worker initially thought it was COVID-19, before he started coughing up blood and called his doctor.

The exams revealed stage 1 cancer. But because of the wave of COVID-19, I could not start treatment immediately, he says in a press release.

By July 2020, his cancer had worsened, to stage 2. And the chemotherapy did not stop him from progressing further, to stages 3 and then 4.

He had been told that he would not survive it, when his sister told him about lung transplants at Northwestern Medicine Hospital, a pioneer in this field.

In 2020, a team led by surgeon Ankit Bharat had already performed a double transplant on a young woman whose lungs had been ravaged by COVID-19.

After d' other attempts at treatment, Albert Khoury, whose condition was deteriorating, was deemed eligible for this transplant because his cancer, although stage 4, had not spread to other organs .

The team that operated on him had to, in six hours, remove trillions of cancer cells from his lungs, taking care not to let them come into contact with his chest or his bloodstream. .

It was an exciting night, summarized Ankit Bharat.

Albert Khoury can now lead a normal life, work or do some sport without life support.

I haven't smiled for over a year, but now I can't stop, he said. he says.

After his success, the Ankit Bharat team set out to develop new protocols to determine who else might be eligible for a such treatment.

We are now convinced that it is possible to offer a transplant in the case of cancer. I think it will have greater effects than can be envisaged at the moment, launched the surgeon.

Lung cancer is by far the deadliest in the United States, with nearly one in four deaths being related to this disease.

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