Researchers develop new injection to treat skin cancer; method simple compared to chemotherapy, say researchers


A research initiative from a team of researchers at Yale involves developing a new treatment for skin cancer. The therapy is administered using a two-pronged approach, and is considered as a potential alternative to surgery. Coming to the therapy, it involves injecting nanoparticles into the cancerous tumor.

The findings of the study are published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.

“In fact, for most patients, treating cancer requires lot of involvement for patients and their families. This would be much simplified if there was a simple procedure such as an injection to effectively treat the condition, stated the senior author of the study.”

Meanwhile, for dermatology, to seek a simpler treatment for skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma has been a holy grail.

Coming back to the new treatment, cancerous tumors in the skin are treated with polymer-based nanoparticles that carry a chemotherapy agent. The key factor behind success of the treatment is nanoparticles are bioadhesive – this means, the nanoparticles bind to the tumors and remain attached to them for a long period of time to destroy a significant number of cancer cells.

“When nanoparticles are injected into the tumor, it turns out that they are retained in the tumor very well,” said the co-author of the study. In terms of function, the nanoparticles come together and attach to the tumor matrix, as a result of which, one single injection lasts for a very long time. Furthermore, the particles stay at the tumor site and release the chemotherapy agents slowly. “This is required to get rid of the lesion.”

Thus, in order to compare the efficacy of the two therapies, the same drug was administered into tumors of patients under study without the nanoparticles.

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