Using Immunotherapy to Treat Bladder Cancer with Dr. Brendan Guercio

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In this episode of the Bladder Cancer Matters podcast, host Rick Bangs interviews Dr. Brendan Guercio, a medical oncologist and assistant professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center, discusses the use of immunotherapy in the treatment of bladder cancer.

Brendan Guercio, MD
Brendan Guercio, MD

Dr. Guercio explains that immunotherapy works by training the immune system to identify and fight cancer cells, unlike chemotherapy which directly kills cancer cells. Dr. Guercio focuses on immune checkpoint inhibitors, a type of immunotherapy that blocks proteins used by cancer cells to turn off the immune system. He discusses the effectiveness of checkpoint inhibitors, with about 25-30% of patients experiencing significant tumor shrinkage.

Dr. Guercio also explores the potential impact of diet on immunotherapy response, specifically looking at probiotics, prebiotics, fiber, and antibiotics. While there is promising evidence that certain probiotics and higher fiber intake may be beneficial, larger studies are needed to confirm these findings. He emphasizes the importance of discussing these topics with a healthcare provider and highlights the role of organizations like the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) in supporting research in this area.

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