Chemotherapy is an effective drug treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill fast-growing cancer cells in the body. However, treatments can sometimes damage healthy tissue surrounding the cancerous cells.

A new product called JelmytoTM, now available at CAMC, is an FDA-approved Mitomycin gel that allows patients being treated for low-grade upper tract urothelial cancer (UTUC), which is a type of cancer of the lining of the kidney, to save their kidney and be treated only with medicine. Traditionally this type of cancer would require removal of the entire kidney in many cases.

Mitomycin is a combination of a chemotherapy medication and a sterile hydrogel that stops the transcription of DNA into RNA and halts the synthesis of protein, thereby blocking the ability of cancer cells to multiply. Jelmyto starts as a liquid when chilled and then turns into a gel at body temperature. Unlike typical chemotherapy that goes everywhere in the body, Jelmyto targets treatment only in the kidney region where tumors are located.

In UTUC, "low-grade" means cancer is less aggressive and slow to spread. But if left untreated, UTUC can cause serious health problems like bleeding, blockage of the kidney, and lead to pain, infection, inflammation and serious kidney damage. Until now, kidney removal has been one of the standard methods of treatment, but kidney removal could have a major impact on overall health, including causing high blood pressure and heart disease.

"We are excited to offer this new treatment to our patients with UTUC," said Samuel Deem, DO, urological cancer specialist. "Jelmyto could save some patients' kidneys who otherwise would have had to have them removed as part of their treatment."

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