News & Events

A new Study of Oral Mucositis in Head and Neck Cancer Patients to Begin at the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research

May 14, 2014

The Bluestone Center for Clinical Research has launched a new clinical research study which aims to evaluate a novel oral care protocol for the treatment of oral mucositis.  The primary hypothesis of this study is that a monitored regimen of professional oral hygiene prevents harmful ecological shifts in the oral cavity, improves oral health and reduces the duration and severity of OM in cancer patients, consequently improving their overall quality of life during treatment.

Oral mucositis is a condition characterized by painful sores throughout the mouth. It occurs in approximately 80% of patients who receive radiation or chemoradiation for oral cancer, and can cause pain, malnutrition, dehydration and infection. Despite the high morbidity associated with the condition, there are currently no effective therapies or prevention for oral mucositis. Standard of care treatments are palliative rather than preventive or curative, and most recommended treatments provide only minimal relief of symptoms.

The research protocol will be carried out by clinicians and research professionals at the NYU Bluestone Center for Clinical Research as well as the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone. The study will enroll 40 patients who are scheduled to undergo radiation or chemoradiation treatment for head/neck cancer. Patients will be followed throughout their radiation/chemoradiation therapy and for two months afterwards.

Assistance for this project was made possible by the NYU Provost's Mega-Grants Initiative. Launched in the Fall of 2012, the Mega-Grants Initiative seeks to maximize faculty members’ chances of success in securing federal and state support for large, multidisciplinary research centers and institutes on campus, typically ranging from $2 million to $25 million in total center funding. The Mega-Grants Initiative allows faculty to request up to $50,000 in proposal preparation support that may be used for certain administrative services, pilot data collection, grant writers, meeting convocation, and if time permits, scientific review, all to lower the burden on faculty time in preparing these proposals.

The principal investigators of the study are Dr. Patricia Corby, Associate Director of the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research & Dr. Nicholas Sanfilippo, Radiation Oncologist at the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center of NYU Langone. Co-investigators include Dr. Brian L. Schmidt and Dr. Alexander R. Kerr.