Novel Drug-Releasing Hydrogel Enhances Immune System Against Several Cancers

Jun, 2022 - By SMI

Novel Drug-Releasing Hydrogel Enhances Immune System Against Several Cancers

Researchers developed a new biodegradable gel that reportedly improves ability of immune system to fight cancer after tumors are removed through surgeries

When cancerous tumors are removed through surgeries, some of the cancer cells could be left behind where these cells grow again and spread to a different body part. A team of scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed a novel hydrogel that when applied after surgery prevents or slows down regrowth of tumor. When tested in mice, this new gel released drugs and specific antibodies that at the same time reduced immune-blocking cells known as macrophages from the surgical site and activated T cells to attack cancer.

The novel gel releases two compounds that selected to suppress or prevent cancer from growing back. One of these drugs is called Pexidartinib, which is used for inhibiting tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). TAMs are macrophages that turned into cells that responsible for creating an environment suitable for cancer to grow again. When these TAMs are inhibited it slows down the regrowth of cancer. The second drug is made from PD-1 antibodies that help train T cells in detecting and attacking cancer cells. Together both of these drugs prevent a microenvironment from forming that is favorable for regrowth of cancer and help the immune system to kill the remaining cancer cells after surgery. When this process is done, the gel then biodegrades in the body without causing any problems.

When the scientists tested the new gel in mice models of different cancers including sarcoma, colon cancer, triple negative breast cancer, and melanoma, they found that the gel dramatically reduced metastasis and recurrence of the cancer and increased survival rates in mice. Moreover, using this gel also prevented side effects in mice that arise when a drug is delivered to the entire system.

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