From the blog

A Cancer Fighting Gel Can Help Mesothelioma Patients

Published: October 1, 2021

A cancer fighting gel that is applied directly to tumors could help mesothelioma patients. Researchers in Maryland tested the treatment on animals with mesothelioma tumors. The tumors responded even after one application. The gel could be used alone or could be used while doctors are performing surgery on mesothelioma. It could change the future of mesothelioma treatment and could help doctors fight the aggressive and deadly cancer without the need for harmful drugs.

Mesothelioma is hard to treat because it is an irregularly shaped flat surface malignancy, which means it grows on the surfaces of organs and tissues. It also does not respond to chemotherapy, so a gel directly applied to the tumor could help kill cancer cells that cannot be surgically removed. Doctors have done something similar with chemotherapy, where they apply heated chemotherapy solutions after performing surgery on peritoneal mesothelioma patients to kill remaining cancer cells. The gel is more beneficial though because it can stay with the tumors if they move, allowing the treatment to be more effective.

The NCI developed gel is peptide-based and is a surface-fill hydrogel. The gel contains tiny particles of messenger RNA that deliver scrambled messages to mesothelioma cells, which inhibit their growth. The gel can either be sprayed on or applied to the tumor with a syringe. It can specifically target mesothelioma cells because it contains tumor-specific microRNA. It was found to be effective in four preclinical models of mesothelioma, which means it could be effective enough to then be tested on human participants.

Novel treatments like this are incredibly helpful in advancing mesothelioma treatment. Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer with no cure, so new treatments need to be utilized to lengthen and improve patients’ lives. Without studies testing treatments on people, mesothelioma treatment would not be where it is today, and many people would live much shorter lives after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. These treatments could eventually help find a cure for mesothelioma, preventing mesothelioma deaths altogether.

Poulami Majumder et al., “Surface-fill hydrogel attenuates the oncogenic signature of complex anatomical surface cancer in a single application” Nature Nanotechnology (September 23, 2021). [Link]
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