Agarwala research

Dr. Sanjiv Agarwala. (St. Luke’s Hospital photo)

A groundbreaking trial led by researcher Dr. Sanjiv Agarwala at St. Luke’s University Health Network in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, has resulted in cancerous tumors shriveling up and flaking off after a patient in India was injected with a fuchsia-colored liquid called Rose Bengal, according to a PRNewswire report.

The university noted in a news release that Agarwala, chief of oncology at the health network, was impressed by the results.

The Indian American researcher is the national principal investigator for a study sponsored by Provectus Biopharmaceuticals Inc., into this medicine's potential cancer-killing properties, according to the news release.

A Bethlehem resident enrolled in the study in 2018 after several tiny cancerous moles were found on his scalp. Skin cancer is responsible for more some 7,000 deaths each year in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society, the release noted. 

The fair-skinned 81-year-old man had a troubling history with skin cancer and was being treated for stage 4 metastatic melanoma on his liver with the FDA-approved drug Keytruda, it said. He had three injections of the Rose Bengal derivative, also known as PV-10, over several months. Shortly after each of them, the moles shrank, dried out and flaked off, leaving slight scars in their place, the university added.

An international authority on melanoma, Agarwala reported on progress in this PV-10 research at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting in Chicago in early June.

He describes the results so far as promising, adding that the injection has few side effects, according to the release.

His patient added that the Keytruda infusions he received at the SLUHN Cancer Center have reduced his liver tumors to mere "spots."

Though slightly fatigued by the treatments, and having lost some 20 pounds, he still visits his rural vacation home weekly and enjoys his morning walks or lifts weights daily, taking the inconveniences all in stride, the report said.

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