Canker sores and cold sores are a pretty common and uncomfortable side effect of chemotherapy but a Valley company is providing some relief -- and they kind of just stumbled on the treatment.
CloSYS is based in Scottsdale and they've been making mouthwash, toothpaste and other oral care products for years.
One of their dentists started advising oncologists about oral care because so many germs live in the mouth and cancer patients are so vulnerable to infection. The dentist started recommending the CloSYS mouthwash and patients going through chemo found it not only eased the pain of their mouth sores, but it eliminated them.
"He kept calling me up, 'Hey Jim, you'll never believe what happened!'" recalls Dr. James Ratcliff, CEO of CloSYS. "We're really pleased to be helping people in their fight and maybe making their life a little bit better."
One of the company's board members saw it in action himself when his son battling cancer ended up in the ICU because severe mouth sores kept him from eating or drinking. He again found relief with the mouthwash.
Dr. Ratcliff says in the most simple of terms, think of the mouth like a pier where slime collects and protects organisms from the water so they grow. CloSYS is able to break through the "slime" or in the case of your mouth, plaque, and expose the germs to air so they die like a fish out of water.
The solution has been so successful at least one chemotherapy company has started including the mouthwash in patient care packages.
Dr. Ratcliff says CloSYS isn't a cure but rather a pain management tool, although it's safe for anyone to use and is sold over the counter.