MIT researchers develop hydrogel patch to deliver cancer combo

Researchers at MIT have published a paper about an adhesive hydrogel patch that could be used in the treatment of colorectal tumors after surgery.

Surgery is often the first treatment used in cases of colorectal cancer. However, the surgery doesn’t always remove the entire tumor and cancer cells can be left behind, which could result in recurrence or an increased risk of metastasis.

Virtual Event

Virtual Clinical Trials Online

This virtual event will bring together industry experts to discuss the increasing pace of pharmaceutical innovation, the need to maintain data quality and integrity as new technologies are implemented and understand regulatory challenges to ensure compliance.

The patch in question adheres at the site of the tumor, pre- or postsurgery, and delivers a combo of drug, gene and light-based therapy.

Natalie Artzi, a principal research scientist at MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, said that this combination, when released locally, could increase the efficacy of treatment. The patch could also eliminate some side effects that come along with systemic, or whole-body, therapies like chemotherapy.

In addition to systemic therapies causing excess damage to unaffected areas of the body, the treatment itself tends to be less effective, as only a portion of the drug reaches the tumor site. MIT News noted that research found that in mice, only 0.7% of nanoparticles administered systemically reached the target tumor.

The patch contains nanorods which, when exposed to near-infrared radiation, heat up and destroy the tumor. The nanorods contain a chemotherapy drug as well that is released when the patch heats up. The drug targets the tumor and surrounding cells.

The third aspect of the patch is gold nanospheres that do not heat up, but rather deliver gene therapy to the site. This silences an oncogene--the genes that change healthy cells into cancer cells--in the cancer.

According to MIT News, the idea is to use the patch in one of two ways: as a post-surgical treatment to eliminate the risk of cancer recurrence due to remaining cancer cells at the site, or as a presurgical neoadjuvant, which would shrink tumors prior to removal.

In a study with mice, in 40% of cases where the patch was not used after tumor removal, the cancer returned. Complete remission was achieved when the patch was used after surgery. “Indeed, even when the tumor was not removed, the triple-combination therapy alone was enough to destroy it,” MIT News explained.

“What is particularly intriguing is that by delivering the treatment locally, multimodal therapy may be better than systemic therapy, at least in certain clinical situations,” Mauro Ferrari, president and CEO of Houston Methodist Research Institute, said in a statement.

Researchers hope to continue experiments with the treatment in larger models, where they hope to use colonoscopy equipment not only to diagnose cancer, but to inject the patch.

“This administration modality would enable, at least in early-stage cancer patients, the avoidance of open field surgery and colon resection,” Artzi says. “Local application of the triple therapy could thus improve patients’ quality of life and therapeutic outcome.”

- here is the MIT News article

Related Articles:
Otsuka wins early FDA approval for a colorectal cancer combo drug
Servier bags EU rights to colorectal cancer drug in $130M deal
FDA approves new oral medication to treat patients with advanced colorectal cancer

Read more on

Suggested Articles

Nearly two years after raising $75 million, iTeos Therapeutics is picking up $125 million to push its lead assets through phase 1/2 trials.

Bristol Myers Squibb and bluebird bio filed their BCMA-targeting CAR-T therapy for FDA approval, teeing it up for a potential green light in 2020.

Smith+Nephew is contracting with the U.K. government to build a new ventilator specifically designed for large-scale production.