Unique bladder cancer research set to start

Professor Dickon Hayne
SUBDUE principal investigator and South Metropolitan Health Service Head of Urology Professor Dickon Hayne.
January 17, 2020

An entirely new way to treat bladder cancer is a significant step closer following the recruitment of the first patient to the SUBDUE trial based at Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH).

This research aims to improve the treatment and outcomes of patients affected by high-risk bladder cancer.

During the trial, up to 12 patients whose doctors have recommended bladder removal as the next stage of their treatment will have an antibody injected into their bladder lining.

When given intravenously, the antibody Durvalumab has proven effective at slowing advanced bladder cancer that has spread to other organs, but there are currently no clinical trials evaluating injection directly into the bladder.

Principal investigator and South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS) Head of Urology Professor Dickon Hayne said getting all the necessary approvals and recruiting the first patient was a fantastic achievement.

“I am grateful for all the hard work, time, advice and support given freely by so many across SMHS and FSH to get this project off the ground,” Professor Hayne said.

“It really has been an astounding team effort including urology, medical oncology, pharmacy and PathWest staff.

 “We are most grateful to the bladder cancer patients who choose to take part in this study,” Professor Hayne said.

“This may provide a crucial link to understanding which patients (according to their bladder cancer subtype) are most likely to respond to this mode of therapy.”

To ensure that this injection is safe and well tolerated, patients will be given regular surveys and blood tests before their bladder is removed. 

“We plan to start on a very low dose, which we can gradually increase only when proven safe,” Professor Hayne said.

“Our treatment group hopes that this treatment can be used in a larger trial, and long-term could become a standard treatment for high-risk bladder cancer.”

Professor Hayne also thanked the Australian and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate Cancer Trials Group (ANZUP) for developing the concept, Below the Belt for funding the trial, along with the Spinnaker Health Research Foundation for supporting the translational component, AstraZeneca for providing the drug, and the University of WA and the SMHS Research and Development unit for help with application processes.

The research team also plans to share the information from this trial with clinical research centres internationally.