Cancer wonder Gel
One key problem facing cancer research is how to deliver therapies in the most efficient way, as well as how to target tumors directly, minimize invasiveness, and maximize success.
Chemotherapy uses chemical agents to target and destroy cancer cells — or at least prevent them from multiplying — and it is one of the most widespread treatments for cancer.
Researchers acknowledge that chemotherapy could act more effectively in some cases if it is delivered alongside immunotherapy — a type of treatment focused on boosting the body's own immune system, so that it might reinforce a person's natural barriers against cancer.
Now, scientists based at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill and the North Carolina State University in Raleigh have been experimenting with a new injectable medium.
Senior study author Zhen Gu and his colleagues have developed a "bioresponsive scaffold system" — a polymer network, similar to a gel, that when injected delivers a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs directly to the cancer tumors.
In the new study, Gu and team tested their injectable gel-like medium on particular types of cancer tumors: B16F10 melanoma and 4T1 breast cancer. However, the researchers are confident that the medium could be used just as successfully on other types of cancer tumors, as well.