Bladder Cancer Drug Being Tested in Miami Shows Promising Results

According to the National Cancer Institute, bladder cancer is the sixth most common form of cancer. In the year 2009, 70,980 new cases and 14,330 deaths from bladder cancer were reported in the United States. For those bladder cancer patients for whom chemotherapy showed no promise, there was little hope; today, these patients can try AEZS-108, currently being tested in Miami.

AEZS-108 has already shown promising results on its clinical trial participants. The drug is in the phase I stage of testing for curing bladder cancer at the University of Miami, one of the top clinical trial facilities in Florida. Dr. Andrew Schally, chief of the University of Miami’s Endocrine, Polypeptide and Cancer Institute, developed the drug after two decades of research and work. In 1977, Dr. Schally won a Nobel Prize upon discovering that the brain generates luteinizing hormone-releasing protein (LHRH). AEZS-108 is the first drug in a clinical study that targets LHRH-receptor expressing tumors (endometrial, breast, prostate, ovarian and bladder cancer).

Dr. Gustavo Fernandez, an oncologist at the University of Miami, is leading the clinical trial of AEZS-108. Fernandez explains that the drug acts like a missile targeting cancer cells and destroying them. “The drug has two components, a protein part and a chemotherapy part. The protein portion binds to the cancer cell’s receptors and gets internalized inside the cells. When the drug is internalized, then the chemo part gets inside the cell and destroys the cancer cells.” Since the drug is not chemotherapy and targets specific cancer cells, it has fewer side effects than the traditional drug; for example, it does not cause hair loss or nausea. In addition, the drug is promising to be more efficient at curing bladder cancer. Chemotherapy is currently the only drug for bladder cancer, so for those patients who don’t respond to chemotherapy, their only hope is Schally’s miracle invention. The Food and Drug Administration has currently approved the Phase I/II clinical trial for six infusions of AEZS-108.

Robert Chambers, the first clinical trial participant to try AEZS-108, has experienced positive results from the drug. “When you enter a clinical trial you don’t think of curing yourself. This particular trial is for people who are at their end game, so you’re at that point mentally resigned to whatever’s going to happen. If it’s something that can be beneficial to other people down the road, I think it’s a good thing to do. Being the first [patient], with no track record, it’s rolling the dice, really.”

You can also check out some of the other clinical trials in Florida or give us a call at (877) 330-2919 to speak with one of our clinical trial experts who can help you find the right trial!