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HIVEC is next big step to prevent recurrence in superficial bladder cancer

Currently, bladder cancer in India is treated with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) intravesical immunotherapy

Yuvaraja T B 

Image: istock
Image: istock

Cancerous tumours in the genito-urinary system are amongst the most common type of cancers occurring in patients diagnosed with the life-threatening disease. According to studies in recent years, genito-urinary cancers are common amongst Indian males and females, accounting for nearly 21 per cent of all cases. In males, 30.4 per cent of genitourinary system malignancies (17.50 per cent) consisted of urinary bladder malignancies. At a global scale, of 356,000 new cases of urinary bladder diagnosed annually, the disease results in the death of 145,000 patients.

Currently, bladder in India is treated with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) intravesical immunotherapy. It is a prevalent procedure in India as it is cost-effective. And, it is a painful procedure. However, studies have shown a high-recurrence of the disease in non-muscle invasive bladder (NMIBC) patients post BCG treatment.

When procedures like BCG and others fail, a cystectomy (removal of the bladder) has to be performed. This can lead to social and psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, shame, tension, loss of interest in hobbies, irritability, and loneliness.

This is where solutions driven by new-age technology are proving to be extremely effective. One example of this is Combat Medical's Bladder Recirculation System (BRS) which uses its proprietary HIVEC (Hyperthermic Intra-Vesical Chemotherapy) technology. Through the technology, the device provides heated chemotherapy to treat (NMIBC) patients. Additionally, it uses clinical hyperthermia, which keeps the temperature between 41-43 degrees, as per therapeutic requirements.

The HIVEC-driven BRS device equally distributes the Mitomycin C (MMC) drug through a catheter. Research has shown that the drug is more effective, and reaches an optimum level at 43°C. At this temperature, the cytotoxicity level of the MMC goes up by 10 times, without having a negative impact on the body. Additionally, the thermotherapy triggers the Natural Killer Cells (NKC) of the body's immunization system, which leads to the elimination of the cancer cells.

The BRS doesn't require constant monitoring while functioning. Doctors and operation theatre staff can focus on other patients and pressing medical duties within the duration of the procedure.

According to clinical evidence in a 2019 study conducted amongst NMIBC patient groups, those who underwent BCG procedure had five recurrences of the disease, while four cases progressed to the next stage. The ones who underwent HIVEC had no recurrences.

I too have been using Combat BRS's HIVEC for some time now, and it is giving really effective results. HIVEC is surely the next best step for an efficient treatment to prevent recurrence in superficial bladder cancer.

The continuous development and implementation of these devices will result in better accessibility, affordability for providers' and effective patient care at a large scale. HIVEC is an embodiment of the best of what MedTech can offer.


Yuvaraja T B is Head of robotic surgery & consultant of surgical oncology (Uro-oncology) Kokilaben Hospital, Mumbai


First Published: Sat, December 14 2019. 23:16 IST