JUN 12, 2019 12:02 PM PDT

Injectable Hydrogel Recruits Chemotherapeutics to Tumor Site

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Targeting tumor cells while avoiding harming healthy tissue remains a growing central challenge in the field of chemotherapeutics. For a while, scientists have desired to place a "homing beacon" in tumors that could attract cancer killing drugs while decreasing the adverse effects caused by the treatment on healthy cells.

Now, researchers may have successfully developed a “homing beacon” that is an injectable hydrogel placed near tumors and works by recruiting drugs to shrink the tumor site.

Findings describe fewer side effects that were reported in ACS Central Science.

Currently, chemotherapy drugs bind antibodies to proteins expressed on the surface of cancer cells but, the issue is less than 1% of the administered drug ends up actually targeting the tumor site.

However, in the study the new approach of recruiting cancer drugs is a hydrogel-based cucurbituril that can encompass certain chemicals within its central cavity. The researchers believed that if injecting cucurbituril near the tumor, and then attaching the targeting ‘chemicals’ to the chemotherapeutics, then the desired drugs would be able to effectively target the tumor site.

The approached was demonstrated under mice skin when researchers injected a hydrogel containing cucurbituril, followed by attaching a dye to the targeting molecule for easy tracking, and then releasing into the mice’s bloodstream.

Results show that 4.2% of the injectable dye ended up in the hydrogel—this is much higher than previous reports using antibody approaches. Furthermore, the mice excreted the majority of the dye that was attached to the hydrogel. Then, the hydrogel was administered adjacent to the tumor xenografts in mice followed by the administration of the cancer drug doxorubicin that is bounded to the targeting molecule.

Results showed a shrinkage in mice's tumors with much slower growth and fewer side effects than those mice administered an unmodified doxorubicin.

The hydrogel remained in the system of the mice for more than 45 days—allowing for repeated administration of different chemotherapeutics with the same targeting molecule.

Source: American Chemical Society

About the Author
  • Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
You May Also Like
APR 17, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Facebook AI May Speed up Cancer Drug Discovery
APR 17, 2021
Facebook AI May Speed up Cancer Drug Discovery
Facebook has claimed that its new artificial intelligence, known as 'Compositional Perturbation Autoencoder' (CP ...
MAY 06, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Are Hallucinations Necessary for Psychedelics to Treat Depression?
MAY 06, 2021
Are Hallucinations Necessary for Psychedelics to Treat Depression?
Many who work with psychedelics say that hallucinations, or psychedelic experiences, are an integral part of psychedelic ...
JUN 03, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Smartphone App More Effective than Traditional Treatment for Osteoarthritis
JUN 03, 2021
Smartphone App More Effective than Traditional Treatment for Osteoarthritis
  Researchers at the University of Nottingham in the UK and Joint Academy have found that a clinical evidence-based ...
JUN 10, 2021
Plants & Animals
Antibiotics Fight Mysterious Coral Disease
JUN 10, 2021
Antibiotics Fight Mysterious Coral Disease
Coral reefs besieged by climate change and pollutants have a new line of defense against disease-an antibiotic commonly ...
JUN 11, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Laughing Gas Shows Promise in Rapid Relief of Treatment-Resistant Depression
JUN 11, 2021
Laughing Gas Shows Promise in Rapid Relief of Treatment-Resistant Depression
Researchers led by the University of Chicago Medicine and Washington University have found that low doses of laughing ga ...
JUL 05, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Long Term CBD Use Linked to Less Pain, Anxiety and Depression
JUL 05, 2021
Long Term CBD Use Linked to Less Pain, Anxiety and Depression
Researchers from Canada have found that long-term use of cannabidiol (CBD) is linked to improved symptoms of pain, anxie ...
Loading Comments...