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Hepatic Artery Infusion Pump Program

Hepatic artery infusion pump therapy (HAIP) is an innovative way to directly treat life-threatening tumors of the liver too large to be safely removed. Most large tumors in the liver are metastases – tumors that have spread from colorectal cancer. UAB Medicine was the first institution in Alabama to offer this therapy option in 2018, which gives hope to many patients who would have had no other treatment options.

Over half of patients with colorectal cancer will develop liver metastases. Metastatic liver tumors can grow quickly and become too large for surgical removal, which is the preferred first-line treatment for early-stage liver tumors. HAIP can either shrink the tumor (to make it operable) or extend a patient’s life with ongoing treatment.

Here is how it works

Physicians delicately implant a pump the size of a hockey puck near the patient’s liver so that it can deliver chemotherapy through the hepatic artery (the main liver artery). HAIP ensures that all of the chemotherapy drug administered attacks the tumor, and it limits the amount of side effects to the rest of the body.

The HAIP pump is often implanted during another tumor removal surgery to limit incisions. It is refilled by physicians through a catheter every 2-4 weeks. The pump provides a steady release of chemotherapy, which improves the treatment’s effectiveness.

Our oncologists who specialize in colorectal cancer and cancers of the liver are uniquely qualified to determine if HAIP is the best option for you based on advanced imaging and diagnostic tools. As rare experts in this exciting new technique, they receive referrals from providers throughout the Southeast.

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