>>Narrator: Patients who are diagnosed with
lesions in their mouths are usually given only a couple of options. They can do nothing,
have their dentist keep a close eye on the lesions and hope they’re not cancerous – or
they can have them cut out and biopsied to know for sure.
Neither option is ideal,
which is why Eva Sue Reed chose a third option. She signed up to help test a new gel designed
to heal the lesions – although that, too, had its limitations.
>>Eva Sue Reed: I put
it on my gums and after just a short time, you know, maybe 5 minutes or so, it started
to kind of dissolve in my mouth and you didn’t even see it after just a few minutes.
So, researchers at Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center have helped to
develop this – a tiny, saliva-proof patch.>>Peter Larsen: The idea behind a patch would
be that it would hold in place, much like a nicotine patch or some type of other drug-delivery
patch that people might be familiar with.
>>Narrator: on that patch is a potent medicine
made with high levels of man-made vitamin A. Doctors think it could be very effective
in treating mouth lesions, although tests in pill form raised concerns.
>>Susan Mallery: At high levels, it’s toxic. Patients develop trouble with sores in their
mouth, with changes in liver profile, dry skin.
>>Narrator: Which is where the patch
comes in. In lab tests it delivered medicine directly into the lesions with up to 97-percent
efficiency* – But didn’t affect the rest of the body.>>Susan Mallery: Actually, we’d like to
see a minimal amount of compound released into the blood stream, and, in fact, that
was the case.>>Narrator: Which could someday mean a new
option for patients like Eva Sue – one that treats her lesions, and spares her the painful
process of repeated biopsies.
At Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center,
this is Clark Powell reporting.