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article imageNew method for breast cancer drug delivery

By Tim Sandle     Nov 5, 2013 in Health
A new drug-delivery technique has been developed. The technique is the first biodegradable, biocompatible, and non-toxic hydrogel, designed to deliver treatment to people fighting breast cancer.
The treatment of breast cancer varies according to the size, stage, and rate of growth, as well as the type of tumor. There are currently three main types of post-surgery therapies available: hormone blocking therapy, chemotherapy, and the use of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs).
With the antibody therapy, the primary method involves pairing drugs with saline and then delivering these into the body via an intravenous drip. The antibodies are designed to block specific cell receptors to destroy cancer cells and suppress tumor growth. The main objective is stimulating the patient's immune system to attack the malignant tumor cells and the prevention of tumor growth by blocking specific cell receptors.
One problem with this method is that the drugs are absorbed in the body and have limited lifetimes and effectiveness when in the bloodstream. As an alternative, scientists have developed a novel synthetic hydrogel made up of over 96% water and a degradable polymer. The gel is capable of using a range of different drug molecules. Because the gel dissolves slowly, it can release the drugs relatively slowly, meaning that the process of providing anti-cancer drugs to the target site is more efficient.
So far the gel has been assessed using animals studies and the researchers hope to begin human trials soon. The device was developed by IBM and Singapore’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.
The research study has been published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.
More about Breast Cancer, Drugs, Drug delivery, Women
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