Chemotherapy drugs kill rapidly growing cells such as cancers, but they also attack healthy parts of the body. Targeting just one organ could prevent side effects and higher doses can be given without causing damage to the patient .
Two patients in the UK have now received chemotherapy focused on just their liver. Both had a rare eye cancer which had spread to the liver.
The operation works by inflating balloons inside blood vessels on either side of the liver to isolate it from the rest of the body. The liver is then pumped full of chemotherapy drugs, which are filtered out before the liver is reconnected to the main blood supply. Any organ which could be easily separated from the blood supply would be suitable for this kind of approach.
The technique is also being tested in the US and elsewhere in Europe