Researchers of Yale University developing a treatment for skin cancer using nanoparticles by injecting the nanoparticle into the tumor. The treatment kills cancer cells with a two-pronged approach as a potential alternative to surgery.
The results are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In many cases, this treatment can get you rid of the tumor with just an injection, researchers said. People who are in poor condition for surgery or other medical conditions will benefit because of less chance of getting infected.
The nanoparticles are used as carriers that carry a chemotherapy agent when injecting it into the tumor for treatment.
Due to the nanoparticles’ bioadhesive nature, they bind to the tumors and stay there for a long time. This gives a potential and significant time to kill the maximum number of cancer cells.
Dr. Michael Girardi, professor and vice-chair of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine and senior author of the study, said that “For a lot of patients, treating skin cancer is much more involved than it would be if there were a way to effectively treat them with a simple procedure like an injection,”
Further said, “That’s always been a holy grail in dermatology — to find a simpler way to treat skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.”
This therapy can be combined with an agent that stimulates the body’s immune system to clean up the mess after killing the cells and reacting against the cells that might not have been killed directly.
“I call the phenomenon ‘kill and thrill,'” Girardi said. “You don’t want to just kill the cells and leave them there, you want to stimulate the immune system to clean up the mess and also react against cells that might not have been killed directly. So it’s a two-pronged attack on cancer.”
They compare the nanoparticle treatment with the conventional treatment by injecting the same drug freely into the control model’s tumours without the nanoparticle. They found out that the tumor was more diminished when nanoparticles delivered the drugs.
Conventional chemotherapy can have severe side effects as it affects the entire body. But nanoparticles reduce the toxicity of drugs.
Specializes in the nanoparticle, Saltzman’s lab optimizing nanoparticles to improve the drug-carrying capacity to deliver a sufficient amount of chemotherapy agent in a single dose. The nanoparticle contents don’t leave the site of the tumor and remain at the site of the tumor so that this delivery system can use powerful drugs.
“In these studies, we did just a single injection, and that’s how we’d like it to work clinically,” Saltzman said. “You go to a dermatologist, they see a lesion and inject into it, and it’s gone, and you don’t have to come back.”
In a single visit, a patient with multiple tumors can be treated with injection-based therapy.
Source: Yale University. “Injection to treat skin cancer developed.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 February 2021. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/02/210202164457.htm>.
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