Intravesical mucoadhesive nanoparticulate drug delivery systems for application in bladder cancer

Urinary bladder cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed malignancies in North America. The great majority of cases are superficial carcinomas, where the tumour is confined to the inner layer of the bladder wall. The most common treatment method is known as transurethral resection, which involves the surgical removal of tumour nodules from the bladder wall. However, there is a high rate of tumour recurrence after this surgical procedure. Intravesical chemotherapy, which involves instillation of one or more chemotherapeutic agents into the bladder following resection, has become the treatment of choice for superficial carcinoma. Unfortunately, the major limitation of this treatment is the rapid and almost complete washout of the drugs from the bladder on first void of urine, and low exposure of chemotherapeutic agents to the tumour sites. This can lead to treatment failure. Although drug treatments via bladder instillation following resection have decreased tumour recurrence rates, overall mortality rates for bladder cancer have not changed in Canada over the last several years. New approaches are needed to treat this type of cancer. Clement Mugabe is working to develop formulations of drugs that are not easily flushed out of the bladder. This can be achieved by creating drugs in the form of mucoadhesive nanoparticles –so tiny and sticky. Mucoadhesive nanoparticle formulations have the potential to adhere to the bladder wall, increase drug uptake into bladder tissue and thereby increase the effectiveness of drug treatment. Mugabe’s research will lead to novel formulations, and new information about the factors that influence uptake of drugs into the bladder wall.