Cancer metastasis is every patient and doctor’s nightmare when it comes to treating this deadly disease. Chemotherapy is usually the primary treatment option, with doctors following up with surgeries to remove any tumors. However, patients suffering from muscle-invasive bladder cancer have to make a life-altering decision to either undergo chemotherapy and have their bladder removed to reduce chances of the cancer recurring or take their chances with the cancer metastasizing and leave their bladder intact while undergoing chemotherapy.
Cystectomy, which refers to the surgical removal of the bladder, is the standard treatment plan for individuals who suffer from muscle-invasive bladder cancer. This happens when cancer cells grow into the bladder wall’s deeper layers, which makes it easier for the cells to spread beyond the bladder. Nearly one in every four people with this type of cancer are diagnosed at this stage. Researchers note that even after the bladder has been removed, the cure rate is still low.
The co-director of the Tisch Cancer Institute’s Center of Excellence for Bladder Cancer Dr. Matthew Galsky explains that the risk of the cancer recurring is nearly 50% for patients who go through surgical procedures to remove their bladder. To help avoid this impossible decision, researchers from the aforementioned institute in Mount Sinai conducted a pioneering clinical trial that administered patients suffering from muscle-invasive bladder cancer with a combination of immunotherapy and chemotherapy as the preliminary treatment.
The trial involved more than 70 participants, who all received four cycles of chemotherapy in combination with nivolumab, an immune therapy medication. Twelve weeks after the treatment began, each participant also underwent various tests that evaluated how their cancer had responded to the therapy.
The researchers found that at the end of this period, 31 patients appeared to be cancer free and were allowed to continue with the treatment, which involved the administration of four more months of immunotherapy. However, 33 patients who hadn’t benefited from the treatment had to get their bladders removed to prevent the disease’s spread. The results show promise with the researchers noting that none of the 31patients died of causes associated with cancer, with cancer spreading in only one case thus far.
The results of the clinical trial, which was started in 2018, were recently presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting last month. The research is yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Galsky notes that more research will need to be conducted before the approach can be used as an alternative treatment practice in the future, adding that the long-term outcomes of the clinical trial are the most important.
Additionally, companies such as Imagin Medical Inc. (CSE: IME) (OTCQB: IMEX) are focused on improving imaging during bladder cancer surgery, so patients who need to undergo surgical procedures to remove cancerous tissues can look forward to the use of these advanced systems to improve patient outcomes.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Imagin Medical Inc. (CSE: IME) (OTCQB: IMEXF) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/IMEXF
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