Bladder cancer is a malignant tumor that originates from the urothelium in the bladder tissue. It is caused by uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the bladder’s inner lining. It is one of the most common malignant tumors in the urinary system. Based on whether the tumor infiltrates the detrusor muscle, bladder cancer can be divided into non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) and muscle invasive bladder cancer (MIBC). The number of new patients with bladder cancer worldwide rose from 506,000 in 2015 to 565,000 in 2019, with a compound annual growth rate of 2.8%. In China, the number of new patients with bladder cancer was 85,000 in 2019, and it is expected to increase to 99,000 by 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 3.2% during the period. Among the new patients, patients with NMIBC will account for about 75%.
The standard of care for NMIBC is transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT). Because of high tumor recurrence rate after TURBT, intravesical chemo- or immun0-therapies are required after the procedure. However, these therapies have significant limitations. Intravesical instillation therapy is an invasive and painful procedure, which often causes bleeding and inflammation to a patient’s urinary tract. Due to a short drug exposure time (1-2 hours each time, once a week), the efficacy is poor, with 30-50% of patients experiencing dysuria, urinary frequency, and hematuria. For high-risk NMIBC patients who have failed intravesical therapies, radical cystectomy is the standard treatment. However, such a surgery lowers a patient’s quality of life tremendously as it requires permanent use of an external container for storing urine.
Precancerous Cervical Lesions and Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is one of the most common gynecological malignancies. Its incidence ranks 2nd among female malignancies in China, with approximately 130,000 new cases each year. The 3-5 year survival rate of patients with cervical cancer is below 50%, and the annual death toll is about 53,000, which accounts for about 18.4% of all malignant tumor-related deaths in women. Long-lasting infection with HPVs causes precancerous cervical lesions. If treated, it may develop into cervical cancer. HSIL is a high-grade precancerous cervical lesion. If it is accompanied by high-risk HPV infection, it is more likely to develop into cervical cancer. In 2019, the number of women with precancerous cervical lesions in China was approximately 3.5 million, and the compound annual growth rate from 2015 to 2019 was 1.3%. With the wider use of cervical cytology screening, more patients with precancerous cervical lesions are detected in precancerous stage, and the number of detected patients is expected to rise in the future.
Genitourinary Tumors and Other Major Diseases
In addition to bladder cancer and cervical precancerous lesions, Asieris also focuses on the research and development of new drugs for other genitourinary tumors, such as breast cancer, prostate cancer and other major diseases.