Sunday September 15, 2019

Fast-Acting Skin Patch that Efficiently Delivers Medication to Attack Cells in Skin Cancer

While syringes are an effective drug delivery mode, they can be painful

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Cancer, Treatment, Chemotherapy, Tiny Bubbles, Research
"What we've done is improve a therapeutic approach to delivering enzyme-producing genes that can convert certain drugs into toxic agents and target tumours." Pixabay

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed a fast-acting skin patch that efficiently delivers medication to attack cells in melanoma – a deadly form of skin cancer.

Topical ointments can impart medications to the skin, but they can only penetrate a small distance through it.

While syringes are an effective drug delivery mode, they can be painful. Syringes can also be inconvenient for patients, leading to non-compliance.

“Our patch has a unique chemical coating and mode of action that allows it to be applied and removed from the skin in just a minute while still delivering a therapeutic dose of drugs,” says Yanpu He, a graduate student who helped develop the device.

Skin, Patch, Cancer
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed a fast-acting skin patch that efficiently delivers medication to attack cells in melanoma – a deadly form of skin cancer. Pixabay

The researchers believe that the skin patch, tested in mice and human skin samples, is an advance toward developing a vaccine to treat melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.

“Our patches elicit a robust antibody response in living mice and show promise in eliciting a strong immune response in human skin,” He said.

Using chicken ovalbumin as a model antigen, the team vaccinated mice with their patches, and compared the results with intramuscular and subcutaneous injections.

The microneedle treatment produced nine times the antibody level compared to intramuscular injections (used for flu shots) and 160 times the antibody level compared to subcutaneous injections (used for measles vaccines). They also saw efficient immune activation in surgical samples of human skin.

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“Our patch technology could be used to deliver vaccines to combat different infectious diseases,” said Paula T. Hammond from MIT.

“But we are excited by the possibility that the patch is another tool in the oncologists’ arsenal against cancer, specifically melanoma,” Hammond said.

The findings are scheduled to be presented at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall 2019 National Meeting and Exposition being held in San Diego, California, from August 25-29. (IANS)

Next Story

Tiny Bubbles In Body Better Than Chemotherapy, Research Suggests

Researchers have found that tiny bubbles in our body might potentially be used to treat cancer and could fight the disease better than chemotherapy

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Cancer, Treatment, Chemotherapy, Tiny Bubbles, Research
"What we've done is improve a therapeutic approach to delivering enzyme-producing genes that can convert certain drugs into toxic agents and target tumours." Pixabay

Researchers have found that tiny bubbles in our body might potentially be used to treat cancer and could fight the disease better than chemotherapy.

Healthy cells in our body release nano-sized bubbles that transfer genetic material such as DNA and RNA to other cells. It’s your DNA that stores the important information necessary for RNA to produce proteins and make sure they act accordingly.

According to the researchers, these bubbly extracellular vesicles (EV) could become mini treatment transporters, carrying a combination of therapeutic drugs and genes that target cancer cells and kill them.

The study, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, focused on breast cancer cells in mice.

“What we’ve done is improve a therapeutic approach to delivering enzyme-producing genes that can convert certain drugs into toxic agents and target tumours,” said the study’s lead author Masamitsu Kanada, Assistant Professor at the Michigan State University.

Cancer, Chemotherapy, Tiny Bubbles, Research, Treatment
A Caucasian female nurse smiles as she administers chemotherapy through a catheter to an African American male patient in a clinical setting. Wikimedia Commons

These drugs or prodrugs start out as inactive compounds. But once they metabolize in the body, they are immediately activated and can get to work on fighting everything from cancer to headaches.

Aspirin is an example of a common prodrug.

In this case, researchers used EVs, to deliver the enzyme-producing genes that could activate a prodrug combination therapy of ganciclovir and CB1954 in breast cancer cells.

Minicircle DNA and regular plasmid – two different gene vectors that act as additional delivery mechanisms for DNA – were loaded into the vesicles to see which was better at helping transport treatment.

This is known as a gene-directed enzyme, prodrug therapy.

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They found that the minicircle DNA was 14 times more effective at delivery and even more successful at killing cancerous tumours.

“Conventional chemotherapy isn’t able to differentiate between tumours and normal tissue, so it attacks it all,” Kanada said.

With EVs, treatment can be targeted and because of their compatibility with the human body, this type of delivery could minimize the risk of unwanted immune responses that can come with other gene therapies.

“If EVs prove to be effective in humans, it would be an ideal platform for gene delivery and it could be used in humans sooner than we expect,” Kanada added. (IANS)