New Delhi: Bladder cancer is the most expensive cancer to treat over a patient`s lifetime.
Reported statistics show its incidence in India is over 200,000 with ~15,000 new patients diagnosed every year. Worldwide, bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men and eighth in the women, with transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) comprising up to 90% of all primary bladder tumors.
TARIS Biomedical, a cutting-edge biotechnology company based in Boston, USA, has invented a technology that can control bladder diseases to a great extent. Patients can be treated through this new technology by keeping a tolerable delivery system in the bladder which continuously releases the medication for several days to weeks in patients.
The TARIS` delivery system is as simple as it is revolutionary. It comprises of a small, flexible silicone tube filled with drug tablets, and fitted around a thin wire frame that gives the system a "shape memory".
The system can be placed into the bladder by a routinely used, simple catheter in the office. The shape provided by the wire frame keeps the system in the bladder, and because it is soft and flexible, it is tolerable in most patients, which allows them to carry on their normal daily activities.
When deployed in the bladder it is like a "flexible spaghetti in a small pretzel shape". The water diffuses from the urine into the system, dissolving the drug. By carefully controlling the osmotic pressure in the tube, TARIS technology modulates the release rates of the drugs through a laser-drilled orifice, from days to weeks, according to the desired application.
President and CEO of TARIS Biomedical, Dr. Purnanand Sarma, said, "TARIS technology may offer a wonderful solution for the patients. There is a significant unmet need in urology, especially in India and other developing countries, where these diseases are substantially under reported compared to the west, yet the same risk factors exist." He added that smoking and occupational chemical exposures are the main risk factors for bladder cancer which translates to significant number of people at risk of developing this disease.
TARIS technology was invented by two of the world`s leading biomedical engineers: Dr. Robert Langer and Dr. Michael Cima. Dr. Langer is a David H. Koch Institute Professor (highest honor awarded to faculty) at MIT and the most cited engineer in history. His awards include the U.S. National Medal of Harvey Prize; John Fritz Award; GM Kettering Prize for Cancer Research; Lemelson-MIT prize, for being "one of history`s most prolific inventors in medicine." Dr. Cima is a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT and an investigator at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT.
Yajna Prakash of CIBC (Concept International Business Consulting) a specialized Market Entry and Investment Strategy Consulting firm which is helping TARIS Biomedical to set up its operation in India says, "TARIS can also develop programs for the emerging economies centered around India. There are much bigger potential uses of the Technology including delivery directly to the organ to treat bladder Cancer (using anti-cancer medication) and overactive bladder. A number of leading Indian companies have already evinced interest in this technology."
Overactive Bladder (OAB) is the most common bladder condition and is diagnosed much more often as individuals become older. It affects 12-17% of all adults in the US and Europe. Though common in India, the exact figures are unavailable. The disease is under reported due to lack of awareness, resources and social stigma.
Bladder Pain Syndrome (also called Interstitial Cystitis) is profoundly debilitating condition typified by intense pain in the bladder and frequent urination, usually in women.
Forty percent of patients with this condition are unable to work, 27 percent typically have a marriage breakdown, 55 percent contemplate suicide and 12 percent actually attempt suicide.
Nearly 500,000 patients are currently diagnosed in the United States, but as many as eight million American women show similar symptoms. The awareness of this disease is on a significant rise in the west and, though exact numbers are unknown, it is recognized as a worldwide disease with significant incidence in developing countries, especially among women.