Medical

Microneedle patch drip feeds cancer drugs directly into melanomas

Fluorescence imaging of a microneedle patch
Fluorescence imaging of a microneedle patch
View 2 Images
As the patch is stuck onto the melanoma, blood seeps into microneedles, which in turn causes the nanoparticles to deteriorate and release the antibodies
1/2
As the patch is stuck onto the melanoma, blood seeps into microneedles, which in turn causes the nanoparticles to deteriorate and release the antibodies
Fluorescence imaging of a microneedle patch
2/2
Fluorescence imaging of a microneedle patch

The emerging field of immunotherapy has uncovered some powerful new weapons in the fight against cancer, but tumor cells can be quite crafty in the way they go undetected by our immune system. In an advance that could play a part in neutralizing these stealthy attributes, researchers have developed a microneedle patch that can be worn on the skin to more effectively deliver immunotherapy drugs directly to the site of a melanoma.

The T cells that float around in our bodies searching for infections use specialized receptors to distinguish between healthy cells and harmful ones. But by expressing a certain protein ligand that binds to these receptors, cancer cells can fool the T cells so that they go unrecognized and continue wreaking havoc in the body.

Cancer researchers are trying to tackle this problem by administering anti-PD-1 antibodies, or programmed cell death antibodies, that stop this process taking place.

"However, this poses several challenges," says Chao Wang, a postdoctoral researcher in the joint biomedical engineering program at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "First, the anti-PD-1 antibodies are usually injected into the bloodstream, so they cannot target the tumor site effectively. Second, the overdose of antibodies can cause side effects such as an autoimmune disorder."

In pursuit of a more targeted treatment, the researchers designed a patch that could be worn on the skin to feed the antibodies directly into a skin tumor. The patch features an array of biocompatible microneedles loaded up with nanoparticles. Inside these tiny particles are the antibodies, as well as an enzyme called glucose oxidase that produces acid when it comes into contact with glucose.

As the patch is stuck onto the melanoma, blood seeps into the microneedles. This leads the glucose in the blood to draw the acid from the glucose oxidase enzyme, which in turn causes the nanoparticles to deteriorate and release the antibodies.

Working with melanoma in a mouse model, the researchers compared this new method of treatment to the conventional drug delivery via injection into the bloodstream and also directly into the tumor. They found that after 40 days, the steady, sustained release of drugs through the microneedle patch saw 40 percent of the mice treated survive with no detectable remaining melanoma, while none of the control group survived.

The scientists were able to boost these already promising numbers by adding another T cell-boosting antibody to the mix.

"Using a combination of anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 in the microneedle patch, 70 percent of the mice survived and had no detectable melanoma after 40 days," Wang says.

The researchers are now seeking funding to carry out further studies with a view to working toward clinical use. The study was published in the journal Nano Letters.

Source: North Carolina State University

2 comments
Lamar Havard
Stop eating sugar or anything that your system turns into sugar, get your PH on the alkaline side and drink a few drops of FOOD GRADE hydrogen peroxide in DISTILLED water at 3%, on an empty stomach, daily, to super-oxygenate your blood...and any cancer will DIE. It cannot survive in any of those conditions.
habakak
Lamar.....your blood alkalinity varies throughout your body. It cannot possibly be the same everywhere. Also, all carbs are converted to glucose and glycogen. Your body cannot convert protein into sugar. You only consumer carbs, fat and protein. Fat is stored as fat if it is not burnt. Protein is used to rebuild the muscle and for energy production (in limited amounts). Carbs are stored as glycogen or glucose when not burnt. All stored fat and glycogen and glucose gets converted to ATP which is the only fuel for your muscles (some creatine phosphate too, but for all practical intents and purposes your body is only fueled by ATP). Your body doesn't just turn sugar into glucose. All carbs are turned into glucose. So you are recommending to people to stop eating ALL carbs? Or are you suggesting that cancers flourish in an oxygen-poor and carb-rich environment? Stop believing everything those folks from GNLD tells you.