URMC living-donor liver transplants offering second chance for cancer patients

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — First of their kind living-donor liver transplants are offering a second chance for cancer patients and, a University of Rochester Medical Center doctor is behind it.

Dr. Roberto Hernandez-Alejandro is the chief of URMC’s abdominal transplant and liver surgery division.

He’s also a lifesaver for people living with colorectal cancer.

In America, organs from deceased donors are in short supply and patients would have an extremely small chance of receiving one of them.

Until a clinical trial of 10 patients was conducted at URMC, with living liver donors.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Surgery, all ten patients are alive and 62% are cancer-free a year and a half after their surgeries.

"This is extremely important for patients who have stage four colorectal cancer," Hernandez-Alejandro said. "Who does not have disease outside the liver. And what it’s telling us is that we’re able to offer them hope."

Because it was offered as a last resort, the study attracted more than 90 patients from near and far.

Hernandez-Alejandro said with this, URMC is opening opportunities for patients to live longer, and for some of them to be cured.