JELMYTO: Chemo gel kills Kidney Cancer

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Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 5:21 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - HACKENSACK, N.J. (Ivanhoe Newswire)- Urothelial cancer is cancer that starts in the lining of the urinary tract, bladder and kidneys. Patients usually need surgery to remove tumors, followed by chemotherapy. For patients with cancer in the kidney, doctors may need to remove the organ if the cancer comes back. Now, there’s a new treatment that could save patients’ kidneys.

Ralph Auriemma is a man who is used to being on the go, spending a lifetime as a tractor trailer driver and construction worker. Two years ago, a red flag at his yearly physical.

“I used to have a trace of blood in my urine, every physical, but this time there was more than a trace,” Auriemma explains.

Tests showed a kidney stone. A biopsy gave doctors more information.

“She says, ‘I have two things to tell you. One’s good. One’s bad.’ she says, ‘you do have cancer, but it’s a non-aggressive form. And we believe that we could treat it,” Auriemma says of his diagnosis.

“The tumor was about two centimeters in size. So, about the size of a quarter,” Dr. Ravi Munver, of Hackensack University Medical Center stated.

Dr. Munver removed the cancer, which was in the lining of the kidney. But it kept coming back, five times. That’s when Dr. Munver suggested an FDA approved treatment called JELMYTO, a combination of a chemotherapy drug called mitomycin and a chilled liquid inserted into the body through a catheter. When the liquid warms to body temperature, it hardens into a gel.

Dr. Munver explains, “Because it’s a gel form, it stays in the kidney for an hour or two. It’ll pass naturally through the system within a couple of hours.”

Auriemma had the treatment once a week for six weeks. Four months later, there was no sign of tumor regrowth.

“I’m fine. A hundred percent. A hundred percent. I do whatever I want again,” Auriemma tells Ivanhoe News.

Chemo gel: killing cancer and helping surgeons save Auriemma’s kidney.

The FDA approved JELMYTO for use in 2020, but some insurance companies have only recently begun to cover it. Doctor Munver says JELMYTO is for use in patients with non-aggressive, early-stage cancer. A clinical trial found that 84 percent of the patients did not have their cancer return after treatment.

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