Cancer treatment

Maieutics Foundation is involved in a revolutionary project for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases.

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death all over the world. In 2008, 12,7 million cases of cancer were diagnosed around the world, 6.6 million affected men, and 6.0 million women (source: World Health Organization).

Chemotherapy plays a central role in the fight against cancer by directly targeting, reducing or killing tumour cells. Unfortunately, however, research on new chemotherapeutic drugs is extremely expensive, and absorbs a very large proportion of the funds for medical research.

However, to date several powerful drugs have been excluded from human cancer treatment due to their pulmonary and/or cardiac toxicity.

We believe that new technologies currently employed in the field of Intensive Care could open new and unexpected scenarios in the treatment of cancer. As a matter of fact, reversible cardiac or pulmonary toxicity, induced by chemotherapy, can easily be overcome through ExtraCorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO).

ECMO is a treatment method currently employed to reduce mortality of neonatal, paediatric and adult patients with severe reversible respiratory and/or cardiac failure failing to respond to maximal medical therapy.

As ECMO allows the heart and lungs to recover from damage (transient drug toxicity, poisoning, trauma, infections), while supporting and/or substituting their function, we think that it could play a new role in management of chemotherapeutic toxicity thus allowing the use of new anticancer drugs.

We suggested this new approach to the medical community through an international publication in 2011 (Landoni et. al. ECMO: A new way to study toxic drugs in chronic diseases. JCVA 2011).