JELMYTO: Chemo Gel Kills Kidney Cancer


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.

(Full In-Depth Interview)

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.


Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer & Field Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Bob Walko, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #5005

BACKGROUND: Bladder cancer starts when cells that make up the urinary bladder start to grow out of control, and as more cancer cells develop, they can form a tumor and, with time, spread to other parts of the body. The bladder is a hollow organ in the lower pelvis, which has flexible, muscular walls that can stretch to hold urine and squeeze to send it out of the body. The bladder’s main job is to store urine which is liquid waste made by the two kidneys and then carried to the bladder through two tubes called ureters. When you urinate, the muscles in the bladder contract, and urine is forced out of the bladder through a tube called the urethra. Urothelial carcinoma, also known as transitional cell carcinoma, is the most common type of bladder cancer. These cancers start in the urothelial cells that line the inside of the bladder.

Urothelial cells also line other parts of the urinary tract, such as the part of the kidney that connects to the ureter, the ureters, and the urethra.


DIAGNOSING: If you have bladder cancer you may notice that your urine appears bright red or brownish, though sometimes the urine appears normal and blood is detected on a lab test. Other symptoms include frequent urination, painful urination and back pain.

If you notice that you are experiencing any of these symptoms call a doctor to schedule a checkup. You have a higher chance of developing bladder cancer if you smoke, are older than 55, are a male, have been exposed to arsenic and chemicals used in the manufacture of dyes, rubber, leather, textiles and paint products, have previously had cancer treatments, had chronic bladder inflammation, or had a family history of cancer.


NEW TREATMENT:  A treatment for advanced urothelial cancer was effective with tolerable side effects in an international, multi-center phase two clinical trial led by investigators at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian. The trial results prompted a U.S. Food and Drug Administration accelerated approval of the treatment, giving patients with this very aggressive type of cancer a new therapeutic option. The trial population had progressed despite treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy and immune-boosting “checkpoint inhibitors, and overall had a median of 3 prior lines of therapy. Treatment with sacituzumab govitecan was followed by sustained reductions in tumor size for 31 patients, including complete tumor disappearance in six patients. The most common severe side effects included very low white blood cell count in 34 percent and severe diarrhea in 9 percent, which were managed with dose adjustment and best supportive care.



Mary McGeever                                                   Ravi Munver, MD                       

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Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Ravi Munver, MD, FACS, Vice Chair of Urology and Chief of Minimally Invasive and Robotic Urologic Surgery

Read the entire Q&A