Researchers at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy (University of Toronto) are working on a degradable chemotherapeutic implant for ovarian CA, that might eliminate the need for multiple surgeries and at the same time will decrease the side effects from chemotherapy.
A collaborative effort between researchers at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy has resulted in an advanced drug delivery system for the treatment of ovarian cancer. PoLi, developed by Professors Micheline Piquette-Miller and Christine Allen, is a surgical implant that effectively kills cancer cells while minimizing the side effects of chemotherapy.
Ovarian cancer patients normally undergo two procedures: surgery to remove the tumour and chemotherapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells. The chemical vehicle used to intravenously transport anti-cancer drugs such as paclitaxel during chemotherapy can often cause serious side effects, including hypersensitivity and nervous system disorders.
The PoLi implant is a small hydrogel infused with cancer-killing drugs. It is applied directly to the ovary after the removal of the tumour and steadily releases the drug over a two-month period. The implant is biodegradable and dissolves naturally — it does not have to be surgically removed.
“The PoLi implant is showing promise in the treatment of other cancers, including head and neck,” Piquette-Miller said. “We are also developing an injectable gel-based formulation that could be administered directly to the tumour site without surgery. We would consider it for breast and prostate cancers.”
PoLi is the result of four years of collaboration between researchers who come from different scientific backgrounds. Allen, a materials science chemist, designed the implant, while Piquette-Miller, a molecular pharmacologist, determined the drug concentrations and PoLi’s potential applications. “Our team works well because there’s a real complement of expertise,” Allen said. “We also have a large number of students who are getting incredible interdisciplinary exposure.”
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