New Vocal Cord Cancer Treatment
A new treatment for vocal cord cancer developed by Dr. Steven Zeitels and collaborators at the Massachusetts General Hospital has been the subject of several media reports in the US and abroad. The breakthrough was reported by Dr. Timothy Johnson on ABC World News, and was featured in the New York Times and on National Public Radio.
Dr. Zeitels, the Eugene B. Casey Professor of Laryngeal Surgery and the Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital has been innovating vocal cord treatment for precancerous dysplasia and cancer for the past 20 years. This work has culminated in a new laser treatment for cancer, which has produced the best results to date. This treatment employs an angiolytic KTP laser which concentrates the laser energy in the cancer and optimally spares the normal vocal cord tissue to preserve and/or restore the patient's voice. The green light of the KTP laser is highly absorbed by red blood cells which enable it to selectively ablate the increased network of blood vessels (referred to as angiolysis) in cancerous tumors while preserving healthy tissue. The concept of treating cancer by diminishing its blood supply was established by Dr. Judah Folkman years ago.
Dr. Zeitels initiated this new treatment over 7 years ago after using angiolytic lasers for a number of years to treat precancerous dysplasia. The first patient to undergo this treatment was John Ward, PhD, the President of the VHI, who has been teaching and lecturing without difficulty ever since. The initial research investigation demonstrating the effectiveness for this work was published in the Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology in 2008. Patients are seeking this cancer care from throughout the US and abroad and the MGH team has now treated over 100 patients. The MGH angiolytic laser treatment is an important and effective new option for treating vocal cord cancer since until now 90 percent of patients have received standard radiation treatment which can damage normal vocal cord tissue and impair the voice.