Lethal cancer and chronic untreatable viral disease with life threatening consequences are among the major burden for morbidity and mortality in the western world. A large number of resources are employed every year in identification of new drugs to treat this condition. A remarkable percentage of resources are wasted for safety concerns about possible acute cardiac or pulmonary toxicity of the new identified compounds, that are rejected without further development even when promising. ExtraCorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) is an established technique to support and replace cardio-pulmonary function that underwent rapid technologic improvement in the last years, resulting in reduced complication rate. ECMO has been used with success to treat acute life-threatening cardiac and pulmonary toxicity. Our hypothesis is that the new ECMO technological improvement could make this technique available to other setting, such as lethal cancer and infectious diseases, where it can provide a safe base to overwhelm acute cardiac and pulmonary toxicity of chemotoxic drugs and techniques. New drugs and old promising compounds rejected for toxicity could thus be re-introduced and employed, opening a new scenario in the treatment of life-threatening diseases.
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