Bullet Blog #2: Mouth or Mowth

May 7, 2024

How do you spell mouth?

As above, right?

Yes, unless you develop severe oral mucositis (SOM) from the treatment of head and neck cancer in which case that spelling – and pronunciation – definitively changes to “m-o-w-t-h”.

The o-w is for OW!!!!! As in OW, THAT REALLY, REALLY, REALLY @#$%! HURTS!!!!

Like almost constantly for 7-9 weeks, which is about how long patients with head and neck cancer receive chemotherapy and radiation.

Imagine for a moment what it would feel like to chew and swallow a steel wool pad. Then sprinkle on for good measure a handful of thorns, a long, curled piece of barbed wire, some ground glass, and several squares of highly abrasive sandpaper, and diligently work that crunchy mixture around your oral cavity.

Or mOWth.

Eating, and swallowing?

Yeah, right.


A more fitting abbreviation than “SOM” for severe oral mucositis is “SOS” as in the steel wool pad pictured below and as in the internationally recognized expression for, “PLEASE HELP NOW!!!”

Which is what EpicentRx hopes to do with its Phase 2b randomized, blinded clinical trial, KEVLARx. In KEVLARx, lead EpicentRx therapy, RRx-001 (nibrozetone), is given before the start of chemotherapy and radiation to prevent or reduce the pain associated with severe oral mucositis.

How will we know if RRx-001 is successful against severe oral mucositis?

If patients no longer spell – or pronounce – “mouth” as “mOWth”.