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ZILA'S ORAL CANCER DIAGNOSTIC AID IN USE IN U.K.

 PHOENIX, Feb. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The first diagnostic aid for oral cancer has already found use in the United Kingdom's premier dental hospital -- even as regulatory approvals are being finalized in the United Kingdom and the United States.
 OraScan, a product of Zila Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZILA), of Phoenix, enables dentists, physicians and specialists to stain cancerous and pre-cancerous lesions in the mouth a royal blue, aiding diagnosis and making biopsy site selection far more accurate.
 British specialists are using OraScan at The Eastman Dental Hospital in London. Eastman is the nation's center for postgraduate teaching, advanced research and treatment of teeth, mouth and face disorders. Dr. Paul Speight, associate professor and senior lecturer, is the founder of the U.K. Working Group on Screening for Oral Cancer and Pre-Cancer, an assembly of prominent experts who are formulating national health policy recommendations for submission to the British Departments of Health.
 Speight is enthusiastic about OraScan's potential for greatly reducing the number of biopsies -- surgically removed tissue samples -- taken from patients suspected of having oral cancer. "If a patient presents symptoms," he said, "we must biopsy. But probably two-thirds of the biopsies prove negative. The extensive literature on toluidine blue (the stain used in OraScan) suggests that by using OraScan as an aid to selecting sites for biopsy, we should be able to reduce negative biopsies to a rate of 15 percent or even less.
 "Such a dramatic reduction in the total number of biopsies," Speight continued, "would produce major cost savings in professional time and facilities use. More important, it would substantially reduce pain and inconvenience (morbidity) for patients." Biopsies are often traumatic; they can cause several days of discomfort, interfering with eating and sleeping until they fully heal; and a return visit to the doctor is required for removal of sutures.
 "We believe," said Speight, "that OraScan may be instrumental in focusing the attention of the dentist or physician on cancerous or pre-cancerous lesions that are totally asymptomatic. If we can spot a serious condition in its earliest stages, the odds of success with limited treatment are significantly greater." Speight noted that some 50 patients a week who are seen at Eastman fall into the high risk category for oral cancer: they are over 40 and use tobacco or drink alcoholic beverages or both. A portion of this group will routinely be screened with OraScan.
 The Eastman experts are so convinced of the value of toluidine blue that they have launched a wide range of experiments which could soon broaden the use of the OraScan formulation to important new areas.
 Zila President Joseph Hines said that OraScan is being provided to the Eastman Hospital by special arrangement with Zila's Canadian contract manufacturer. U.K. regulatory approval could come as early as this fall, based on information provided to Zila at meetings last month with regulators and others in London. "Our progress in England is very significant," said Hines. "That nation will provide the springboard for OraScan and our full line of products throughout the European Community."
 -0- 2/9/93
 /NOTE: OraScan is a trademark./
 /CONTACT: Joseph Hines, president, Zila Pharmaceuticals, 602-266-6700/
 (ZILA)


CO: Zila Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ST: Arizona IN: MTC SU:

TW -- DC012 -- 4550 02/09/93 10:31 EST
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Date:Feb 9, 1993
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