New Delhi: Offering new hope to bladder cancer patients, a team of scientists claimed to have found a new way to stop the growth of tumour.
The breakthrough discovery involves a drug created from a protein derived from a malaria parasite known as VAR2CSA.
According to the researchers from the University of British Columbia, the drug is found to be effective in chemotherapy-resistant bladder cancer, which is the the fifth most common among the numerous types of cancer.
“This is the first study in which researchers put the concept of using malaria proteins for cancer therapy into a direct clinical context,” Mads Daugaard, an assistant professor of urologic science at the University of British Columbia and a senior research scientist at the Vancouver Prostate Centre and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, said .
“There is a massive clinical need to find new treatments for bladder cancer and we saw an opportunity to target this disease with our new malaria drug,” said Daugaard.
In the study, highly aggressive bladder cancer tumours that were resistant to chemotherapy were implanted in the bladder of mice.
The researchers then treated the lab mice with the malaria drug.
After 70 days, they found the tumours responded dramatically to the malaria drug and 80% of the treated mice were alive, whereas the untreated ones succumbed to bladder cancer.
“Chemotherapy is the mainstay of treatment and only a minority of patients respond to the second treatment option, immunotherapy. We’re very excited by these results because it shows that we are on our way to developing a completely new treatment option for lethal bladder cancer. It has the potential to have a tremendous impact on patient care,” explained Daugaard, one of the lead authors of the study.
According to the latest statistics from the American Cancer Society, there are nearly 79,030 cases of bladder cancer each year - 60,490 males and 18,540 females.
Among those cases, about 12,240 of the males and 4,630 of the females, or a total of 16,870 eventually die from the disease.
Although bladder cancer ca affect anyone, it is most common in older people over the age of 55. Also, men are 3 to 4 times more likely to develop this disease than women.
Chemotherapy is the primary weapon in treating bladder cancer. But unfortunately, extremely aggressive bladder tumors are almost impossible to treat as they are resistant to chemotherapy, with the anti-cancer drugs refusing to make their way into the tumours.
Because it requires life-long surveillance, bladder cancer is the most expensive cancer to treat on a per patient basis for the NHS.
The researchers describe their newly developed drug in a paper recently published in the journal European Urology.
Meanwhile, Indian actor and politican Vinod Khanna died on Thursday, April 27, 2017, after a prolonged battle with bladder cancer. Reports claim the veteran Bollywood actor was suffering from advanced bladder carcinoma (bladder cancer).
The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in your urine. Other less common signs are more frequent urges to urinate and a burning sensation when passing urine.