Bladder Cancer: Latest Research

ResearchBladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer in Canada and the most expensive cancer to treat. It also has a high recurrence rate after treatment. Researchers are working to learn more about bladder cancer, including ways to detect it, treat it and reduce the risk of it recurring.

We’ve summarized the current trends in bladder cancer research to keep you informed.

Detection and evaluation of bladder cancer 

Researchers are studying specific biomarkers, including proteins, genes and pieces of genes found in the body. These biomarkers may indicate a person has bladder cancer, is more likely to experience a recurrence of bladder cancer, or is in need of more intensive treatment.

Treatment of bladder cancer

Bladder cancer treatment is a rapidly advancing area of research. Scientists are looking at ways to improve traditional treatment methods, such as surgery and chemotherapy, and develop new treatment options.


Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, uses materials made in the body or in a lab to boost the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells. Researchers are studying new immunotherapy drugs that show promise in treating bladder cancer. One type of immunotherapy currently used to treat bladder cancer is BCG (Bacillus Calmette Guerin), a bacterial vaccine originally developed to treat tuberculosis. BCG is inserted into the bladder and works by attracting immune cells, which attack cancer.

Researchers are studying the use of immune checkpoint inhibitors to treat advanced bladder cancer. These drugs prevent immune cells from being turned-off by cancer cells, and thereby help the immune system tell the difference between normal, healthy cells and cancer cells.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy drugs attack specific cancer-cell genes or proteins. These drugs block cancer-cell growth and spread, while limiting damage to healthy cells. Targeted therapy is often studied in combination with chemotherapy.

Reducing the risk of recurrence

A major concern with bladder cancer is the high risk of it returning after treatment. Researchers are studying the effects of eating certain foods and taking specific minerals, vitamins, dietary supplements and drugs to reduce the risk of bladder cancer recurrence. Vaccines to boost the body’s immune system against bladder cancer are also being investigated.

How does SAIU contribute to bladder cancer research?

Urologists at SAIU are actively involved in bladder cancer research. Our research focuses on predicting and detecting bladder cancer by analyzing genetic markers and molecules within tissue samples.

More information on bladder cancer, including current research, is available at Bladder Cancer Canada.

 Posted in May 2018

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