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Breakthrough As US Doctors Successfully Perform Double Lung Transplant On Cancer Patient

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US doctors said, on Thursday, they had successfully performed a double lung transplant on a patient with terminal lung cancer, giving new hope to others who also have advanced stages of the deadly disease, the Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.

Albert Khoury, a 54-year-old non-smoker, underwent a seven-hour surgery to receive his new lungs at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago on September 25, 2021.

Six months on, the lungs are working well and he has no signs of cancer in his body.

“Lung transplantation for lung cancer is extremely uncommon with few cases reported,” Ankit Bharat, chief of thoracic surgery at Northwestern Medicine, said in a statement.

“For patients with Stage 4 cancer, lung transplantation is considered a complete ‘no-no,’ but because Albert’s cancer was confined only to his chest, we were confident we could clear all the cancer during surgery and save his life.”

Surgeons are generally reluctant to proceed with such transplants because if there are even a few cancerous cells remaining, there is a strong chance they will regrow in a patient taking immune-suppressing medications to prevent organ rejection.

The few such procedures in the past have not been successful, but since then, advances have allowed doctors to better understand cancer’s spread.

In early 2020, Khoury was working as a cement finisher for the city of Chicago, when he began to experience back pain, sneezing, chills, cough and mucus. At first he assumed it was Covid, but called his doctor when he coughed up blood.

“They discovered stage 1 lung cancer, but due to the COVID-19 surge, I couldn’t begin treatment right away,” he said in a statement.

By July 2020, his cancer progressed to stage 2, and, despite several rounds of chemotherapy, kept growing to stage 3 and stage 4.

He was told there was no chance of survival, but his sister told him about the pioneering lung transplants at Northwestern.



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