The University of Rochester Medical School released a press statement on Jan. 11 announcing its participation in a new study aimed at preventing bladder cancer.

Urologists at the school’s James P. Wilmot Cancer Center will be testing a new photosensitizer hexvix on 30 patients from the Rochester area.

“The photosensitizer, when placed in the bladder, makes cancer cells glow bright pink under a blue light. This makes it easier to see and remove these tumors during cytoscopic procedures,” according to the press report.

“A cytoscopy involves the insertion of a thin, lighted instrument, a cytoscope, into the urethra and bladder for examination and tissue samples can be removed and studied.”

The urology chair at the Wilmot Center, Dr. Edward Messing, states the importance of this photosensitizer. “The change in color is dramatic and this lets us see tiny tumors or satellite tumors that we wouldn’t have seen before with traditional white light during cytoscopy,” Messing said.

“There are other advantages to choosing hexvix,” notes Suzanne Moyer, a research nurse in the urology department at the Wilmot Center.

“What’s unique about this particular photosensitizer is that there have been no reported side effects.”

Hexvix, developed by Norwegian pharmaceutical company, PhotoCure ASA, has been used in European countries and will be tested on 620 people in the United States, Europe and Canada, including the 30 from Rochester, in this new study.

Moyer says the study began on Nov. 18 when the first participant signed the consent form.

She explains that participants are followed up for nine months.

The Wilmot Center has not yet chosen all 30 candidates.

In order to qualify for the study, participants must first be diagnosed with a bladder tumor under a standard cytoscopy and then satisfy all the “inclusion and exclusion” criteria.

Moyer expects the study to last a few years and is positive about its future success.

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