Saturday, August 6, 2016

Patch eliminates colorectal cancer

Researchers at MIT are developing 
an adhesive patch that can stick to 
a tumor site, either before or after 
surgery. – Image courtesy IMES
CANCER DIGEST – Aug. 6, 2016 – One day your doctor may use a patch, much like nicotine patches used to help people stop smoking, to eradicate colon cancer and keep it from coming back, according to a report in the journal Nature Materials.

In an experiment done in mice, researchers at MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, have shown that the patch, designed to deliver a triple combination of therapies, was effective whether the tumor was completely removed or not. By contrast, 40 percent of the mice with no patch applied after tumor removal, saw tumor recurrence.

The patch delivers three therapies to kill cancer cells over time as the patch degrades in the colon. The first therapy releases gold nanorods, tiny bits of metal that heat up when exposed to infrared radiation, killing the cells containing the nanorods.  The second therapy is a chemotherapy contained in the nanorods that is released as they are heated. 

Finally, the patch releases tiny gold balls, called gold nanospheres that are not affected by infrared radiation. Instead these tiny packages deliver RNA, a bit of genetic material that interferes with the nucleus of the cells to keep them from becoming cancerous. 

The researchers envision that a clinician could remove the tumor using a device used for colonoscopies, and then apply the patch to the inner surface of the colon to ensure that no cells that are likely to cause cancer recurrence remain. As the patch degrades, it will gradually release the various therapies. 

They think it may even work before surgery by applying the patch to the tumor when found by colonoscopy, to reduce tumor size before surgery, and may even eliminate small early-stage tumors without surgery.

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