New Conservative Treatment
A drug known as mitomycin-c, a chemotherapy drug, was initially developed as an antibiotic in 1963. It turned out to be fairly toxic as an antibiotic, but effective to treat cancers. We have used this for urothelial cancers in the bladder doing washes or instillations into the bladder.
How the drug is delivered in very important. We converted the liquid form of this drug to a gel form so it can stay in the kidney or ureter. This is a topical therapy, similar to putting cream on your skin, except it will be placed inside for better absorption.
These specific drugs are generally called checkpoint blockade. UTUC has a high rate of mutations and unstable genes and makes them more susceptible to immunotherapy. Doctors will not use immunotherapy for treating patients with low grade disease or localized disease at this time, but that may be part of the treatment in the future.