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Grant Advances OU Research into a New Bladder Cancer Treatment

Monday, May 13, 2013 - Campus News - Contact Theresa Green, (405) 833-9824

A $528,000 grant will help researchers with the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma explore a promising, new treatment for bladder cancer, the fourth most common cancer in men.

The Research Scholar Grant was awarded by the American Cancer Society to Youngjae You, Ph.D., a Cancer Center member and associate professor in the OU College of Pharmacy's Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

"Bladder cancer may be the fourth most common cancer in men, but it is the most expensive cancer to treat," You said, adding the reason it is so costly to treat is because current treatment requires frequent, follow-up exams utilizing cystoscopy.

Cystoscopy utilizes a slender, cylindrical instrument equipped with a small camera to examine the interior of the urinary bladder and also to introduce treatments there. However, current cystoscopy has some limitations, including difficulty in detecting small tumors.

You said the best way to reduce bladder cancer recurrence is sensitive detection and complete eradication at an early stage. He believes accomplishing this will require a therapy that combines fluorescence cystoscopic detection with photodynamic therapy.

Fluorescence cystoscopy, unlike conventional cystoscopy, involves injecting dyes into cells, and illuminating them under the appropriate light to make it easier to detect those that are cancerous.
Photodynamic therapy uses a combination of special light rays and drugs to destroy cancer cells.
You said the goal of combining the two is a more targeted, more effective bladder cancer treatment.
"This could reduce the need for cystoscopy, saving the health care system a lot of money while also helping reduce patients' risk of recurrence and progression," You said.

If successful, the research would result in the development of improved options for the diagnosis and treatment of non-muscle, invasive bladder cancers.

You's principal OU Health Sciences Center collaborators in the research project are fellow Cancer Center members Dr. Sukyung Woo, also of the OU College of Pharmacy, and Dr. Robert Hurst, with the OU College of Medicine's Department of Urology.

"I am excited and honored to receive the Research Scholar Grant and grateful to the American Cancer Society for its generous support of our research," You said.

About the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center:
As Oklahoma's only comprehensive academic cancer center, the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma is raising the standard of cancer treatment in the state and region through patient-centered care, research and education. In association with the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, the Stephenson Cancer Center is decreasing the burden of cancer in Oklahoma through innovative laboratory, clinical and populations-based research. Cancer Center scientists are conducting more than 100 cancer research projects supported by more than $20 million in peer-reviewed annual funding from sponsors, including the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society. The Stephenson Cancer Center is located in a state-of-the-art, 210,000-square-foot facility on the campus of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. For additional information, visit

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