The Michigan Daily
Vol. XCI, No. 37-S
Ann Arbor, Michigan-Friday, July 10, 1981 Ten Cents
Sin brain, liver
Daily Photo by PAUL ENGSTROM
AT LEAST 450 Guaranteed Student Loan applications pile up on a cabinet in
the University's Office of Financial Aid. The pile represents about one-half
of the applications received at the office each week, said Elaine Nowack, a
senior financial aid officer. Ten thousand applications for the 81-82 school
year will have come into the office by today, she said.
Attention focuses on
By LOU FINTOR
Daily staff writer
University researchers yesterday
unveiled new methods of diagnosing
and treating often deadly forms of can-
cer which may hold promise for
thousands of terminally ill patients.
The preliminary results of a new drug
delivery system for treating liver
tumors were announced by Dr. William
Ensminger, associate professor of In-
ternal Medicine at the University
Medical School to an audience at the
Detroit Press Club.
LATER, IN interviews, the
pioneering researchers suggested that
a revolutionary device researched by
University scientists may also offer
concrete hope for the almost always
terminal brain tumors.
The main feature of the system is an
"infusion pump," originally developed
to introduce blood thinning agents into
the bloodstream, that has been adapted
for use by Ensminger for therapy of
cancerous tumors involving the liver in
which patients receiving standard can-
cer treatment often live only a matter
According to Ensminger, the pump is
surgically implanted in a pouch just
under the skin of the abdomen for
treating liver tumors. Surgeons insert a
narrow tube leading from the pump into
the hepatic artery, which is the central
artery delivering blood to the liver.
"THE PUMP steadily releases anti-
cancer drugs directly into the hepatic
artery, which continuously exposes the
tumor in the liver to very high-and
hence more effective-concentrations
of the drug," Ensminger said.
He said the drug levels in the liver are
100 to 400 times greater than levels ob-
tainable through conventional
therapies, such as an I.V. infusion.
"In about 85 percent of the cases, the
tumors are significantly reduced. This
method enables us to extend life expec-
tancy from about four to six months to
beyond two years," he said noting that
untreated cancer has a very rapid
growth rate in the liver.
ENSMINGER predicted that in five
years the pump technique, coupled with
radiation therapies and alternative
chemotherapies, might represent a
true "cure" for cancer to the liver.
Less noted preliminary results have
also shown promise for pump use in
treating certain brain and central ner-
vous system tumors.
According to Dr. William Chandler,
M.D., assistant professor of
neurosurgery at the University medical
school, there are currently two primary
applications for the pump in treating
the CNS tumors.
THE FIRST application involves
placing the pump catheter into the
carotid artery which supplies the brain
with blood, and the second involves in-
troducing it directly into the
"No one as far as I know has ever
done that," said Chandler, "and we
have evidence that some tumors will
regress because it allows us to treat
Chandler maintains that an impor-
tant aspect of treating the tumor
through the CSF is the ability of the an-
ti-cancer drugs to pass the semi-
permeable "blood-brain" barrier in-
tact, thus allowing for a more direct
administration of more potent drugs
and avoiding the usual
chemotherapeutic side effects.
"THESE DRUGS are very toxic, but
we can achieve higher drug doses to the
tumor by doing it this way," said Chan-
dler, pointing out that a major obstacle
in the treatment of CNS cancers is the
difficulty drugs have in crossing the
highly selective blood-brain barrier.
According to recent studies, seven
patients with incurable CNS cancer un-
derwent pump implantations in which a
chemotherapeutic drug was delivered
directly into the brain. After com-
prehensive testing, four showed
"significant regression" of their
tumors, three exhibited a 25 percent
reduction in tumor size, and one-with
meningeal lumphoma and paralysis of
the right leg-experienced a complete
clearing of CSF tumors for 14 months.
While applying the pump to treat CNS
cancers can be difficult, introducing it
to the liver becomes even more in-
volved, according to Dr. John
Niederhuber, head of surgical oncology
at University Hospital.
"IT'S A FAIRLY major operation,"
said Niederhuber, "and the technical
difficulties are not mainly so much with
the implantation of the pump as they
See ADVANCES, Page 4
By JOHN ADAM
Daily staff writer
As the recent death in Taiwan of a
former University Ph.D student gains.
substantial attention, selected obser-
vers across the country are mobilizing
to put additional pressure on the State
Department to investigate the alleged .
murder and to secure the safe release
of the man's wife and child.
The presidents and faculty members
of three universities - the University of
Minnesota, Carnegie Mellon Univer-
sity, and the University of Michigan -
are said to be considering some sort of
united action to further the in-
vestigation of the mysterious death of
CMU Assistant Professor Chen Wen-
Chen and are enlisting the help of
senators and congressmen.
CHEN WAS found dead last week
"sockless and with one shoe" outside of
the library of the University of Taiwan.
The Central Garrison Command of
Taiwan suggested Chen might have
committed suicide jumping from the
building, but the Taiwanese police
department believed Chen was mur-
dered in a different place and then
moved to the library area, according to
reports from Taipei's Central Daily
According to the police department,
Chen's estimated time of death was 10
p.m. The garrison command had inter-
viewed Chen for twelve hours on that
same day until 9:30 p.m. according to
the Taiwanese newspaper.
CMU president Richard Cyert said he
believes Chen's death was politically
motivated and added that once the
safety of Chen's wife and child (who are
still in Taipei), is guaranteed, he will
press hard for a thorough investigation
of the mysterious death of his former
See ATTENTION, Page 11