News & Events

Novel Drug for Treatment of Upper Tract Urothelial Cancer

10/22/2020
Tufts Medical Center announced today that it has become the first center in New England to use the drug Jelmyto (UroGen Pharma, Inc.) for treatment of upper tract urothelial cancer (UTUC), a malignancy found in the kidney lining or the ureter, the thin tube connecting the bladder to the kidneys. The therapy was administered to a patient with UTUC at Tufts MC in October, 2020.

If left untreated, UTUC can cause bleeding, blockage of the kidney and lead to pain, infection, inflammation and reduced organ function. Jelmyto, the first-ever FDA-approved drug for UTUC, received regulatory approval in April, 2020. Previously, UTUC was often treated with invasive surgery to remove a kidney and ureter.

Tony Luongo, MD is a urologist at Tufts Medical Center.“We are very excited to offer this new, non-invasive therapy to our patients with UTUC,” said Tony Luongo, MD, Urologist at Tufts Medical Center. “Jelmyto has been shown to be safe - it is not absorbed into the body - and it delivers similar clinical outcomes to surgery for this patient population.”

Jelmyto is administered once per week for six weeks in an outpatient procedure via direct injection through a catheter into the renal pelvis and calyces (collecting system of the kidney). After six weeks, if the patient has a complete response, they can continue to receive the drug monthly for an additional 11 months. 

“The drug’s phase III clinical trial (OLYMPUS) revealed that 58 percent of patients who received Jelmyto weekly saw their tumors completely disappear after six weeks of treatment. Additionally, 46 percent of these complete responders were tumor free at 12 months,” said Nick Capote, PharmD, MS, BCSCP, Pharmacy Manager of Sterile Compounding at Tufts Medical Center. “We are proud to be the first center in the region to provide this cutting edge, surgery-free therapy option to our patients with UTUC.”

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About Tufts Medical Center and Tufts Children’s Hospital 
Tufts Medical Center is an exceptional, not-for-profit, 415-bed academic medical center that is home to both a full-service hospital for adults and Tufts Children’s Hospital. Conveniently located in downtown Boston, the Medical Center is the principal teaching hospital for Tufts University School of Medicine. The Medical Center features a level one trauma center with rooftop helipad, the largest heart transplant center in New England and a renowned research program, ranking among the top 10 percent of independent hospitals to receive federal research funding. A physician network of 1,800 New England Quality Care Alliance doctors represents our strong commitment to health in the community. Tufts Medical Center is a founding member of Wellforce. For more information, visit www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org.