Dr Yi-Fen Lee, Ph.D., associate professor of urology at UFMC, conducted a pre-clinical study in a mouse model which shows that a combination of vitamin D therapy and the TB vaccine (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine) greatly improves bladder cancer survival.
The mouse study included four arms: a control group, vitamin D treatment group, TB vaccine group, and a vitamin D and TB vaccine combination group.
The TB vaccine has been used previously in the treatment of bladder cancer, however only 30 to 40% of people receiving the treatment respond to it. Lee is investigating whether vitamin D deficiency in these patients may explain the lack of response.
The group who received the vitamin D plus TB vaccine treatment had a 100% survival rate for bladder cancer.
More than 50,000 men and 16,000 women are diagnosed with bladder cancer each year. It is the 4th most common cancer in men and 9th in women. Smoking is associated with bladder cancer in about half the cases.
Lee states that an early clinical trial in patients will be the next step in the process.