According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bladder cancer affects about 72,000 Americans every year and kills about 16,000 of them. It is the sixth most common cancer in the United States. It is also one of the most expensive cancers to treat and the current treatments are highly invasive. Patients have to sit for hours at a time with their bladders full of an agent designed to destroy the cancer cells and tumors. Bladder cancer is also said to be the most reoccurring type with a 70% chance of recurrence.

The researchers at Purdue University have now found a new way to combine anthrax toxin with a growth factor to destroy bladder cancer tumors and cells. The study published in the International Journal of Cancer provides the basis for a transformative anticancer strategy that takes advantage of the bladder’s unique characteristics. Unlike the healthy bladder cells, the cancer cells are exposed to bladder lumen and they overexpress EGFR (Epidermal growth factor receptor) and thereby the researchers used an EGF-conjugated anthrax toxin.

The bladder has its own protective layer which prevents the healthy cells from the anthrax mixture but does not offer protection against the cancer cells and tumors. Thus, their approach takes a lesser duration than the usual hours taken for older treatments.

“We have effectively come up with a promising method to kill the cancer cells without harming the normal cells in the bladder,” said the study’s lead author R. Claudio Aguilar, “It is basically like creating a special solution that targets cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone.”

They also opine that a similar treatment might help treat people and animals affected by other cancers, including the skin and the lungs.

Aguilar and this team sought to test their solution in dogs with bladder cancer who had run out of other treatments. Their findings revealed that their new agent lowered the size of the tumor without causing any other side effects. He highlighted that the results are outstanding and it is fast as well as effective for treating individuals suffering from this devastating health condition.

New treatment for Bladder cancer DarkoStojanovic, Pixabay