DISCOVERY IN BLADDER CANCER
Next-Generation Therapy for Early Bladder Cancer: Nanoparticles
It’s a very high-tech, miniaturized version of the “quicker picker-upper.”
About 75 percent of people who have bladder cancer are diagnosed when it is in the early stage; this is non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). “The gold standard treatment for managing most NMIBC includes transurethral surgery to remove the tumor, followed by intravesical therapy (placed into the bladder) with bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine,” says Trinity Bivalacqua, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Urologic Oncology. “However, half of the cancers treated with BCG vaccine recur.”
In clinical trials, chemotherapy drugs such as docetaxel and cisplatin are being tested on NMIBC that is unresponsive to BCG. However, when these drugs are placed in the bladder, they don’t easily penetrate into the tissue to reach cancerous cells, they’re rapidly cleared from the bladder, and they can enter the bloodstream, potentially causing systemic side effects.
Maybe they need repackaging. Bivalacqua and urologist Max Kates, M.D., with colleagues Abhijit Date, Ph.D., and Laura Ensign-Hodges, Ph.D., have taken a novel approach, combining nanoparticles with “absorption-enhancing vehicles” that make sure most of the medicine gets absorbed by the bladder tissue, and less goes into the bloodstream. It’s a very high-tech, miniaturized version of the “quicker picker-upper.” Based on successful lab tests of these novel nanoparticle combinations, Phase 1 clinical trials are in the works. These findings were published in European Urology.