(RxWiki News) Bladder cancer, most often caused by smoking or exposure to cancer-causing agents in the workplace, is a persistent form of the disease. It often returns after treatment.
Researchers are working on ways to kick this cancer in the butt once and for all.
Ongoing research is in the process of perfecting a type of immunotherapy that works by revving up the body's own immune system. The work has been extremely successful in animal models of bladder cancer.
"Talk to you oncologist about immunotherapy."
William Larchian, M.D., urologic oncologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, and colleagues are working on a system designed to stimulate the body's own natural defense mechanisms to cure the bladder cancer and prevent recurrence.
"What is interesting is that our bodies are capable of identifying, responding to and killing tumor cells naturally," explained Dr. Larchian.
"We are developing a vaccination system to enhance this response and drive an effective immune response against existing and future bladder tumor cells in patients diagnosed with bladder cancer," he said.
A particular molecule known as IL-2 activates T-cells in the immune system to start attacking bladder cancer cells.
Researchers have developed a way to implant the cancer cells with multiple copies of IL-2 DNA. This increased IL-2 activity has been shown to boost the immune system to the point that bladder tumors are eradicated in a mouse model.
The technique worked even better when followed up with the implanting of the B7.1 gene in a process known as transfection. According to researchers, this immunotherapy produced a 70 percent cure rate in animal studies.
In addition to this work, Dr. Larchian is in the process of developing a special delivery system for targeted drugs designed to treat bladder cancer.
Clinical translation of this research has been submitted for Institutional Review Board approval at UH Case Medical Center.
Research is considered to be preliminary before it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.