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New bladder cancer test is fast and easy (4/15/97)

Testing for bladder cancer has gotten easier for both physician and patient.

A revolutionary urine test that detects a newly- discovered tumor marker for bladder cancer was presented at the American Urological Association's annual meeting today in New Orleans by Michael F. Sarosdy, MD, professor of surgery and head, division of urology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Using the same technology commonly seen in one-step pregnancy tests, the new "BTA stat" test detects a bladder tumor-associated antigen in urine. The antibody-based test is performed in only five minutes with no pretreatment of the urine sample.

"This test is a further refinement of the Bard bladder tumor antigen test (BTA) approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1995," says Dr. Sarosdy. The urologist was the clinical coordinator of both nationwide trials.

The new test is even simpler to perform and may be completed in a doctor's office or in a laboratory. The test has a built-in procedural control line that verifies that the test has been performed correctly. The test can be used as a cost-effective adjunct or alternative to cytology, which takes one to two days or longer, and requires both a technician and a pathologist to interpret. The cytology method is generally considered to have poor sensitivity, particularly for low-grade bladder tumors.

Says Max Lyon, president of Bard Diagnostic Sciences, "The BTA stat test represents Bard's latest innovation in the development of rapid, accurate tools for cancer management. The test is the result of the discovery of a new tumor marker, which we believe may prove to be a fundamental breakthrough in tumor cell biology. We have filed patents on the use of the BTA antigen and antibodies in cancer detection."

Bladder cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the United States and abroad. The disease strikes almost 53,000 Americans each year and strikes most often among people over the age of 50, smokers and workers exposed to chemicals in the rubber, leather tanning, metal and dye industries.

When detected early, bladder cancer is one of the most highly curable types of cancer. The five-year survival rate for bladder cancer that is diagnosed at an early stage is 93 percent. When caught late, however, the survival rate plummets to just six percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

Between 50 percent and 80 percent of all patients diagnosed with superficial bladder cancer will have a recurrence of the disease, so lifelong monitoring of all bladder cancer patients is essential.

Contact: Mike Lawrence (210) 567-2570