CNS malignancies are typically hard to physically access, often leaving only radiation and chemotherapy as treatment options. This leaves opportunity for the tumor to spread quickly to other parts of the brain, and become completely untreatable. Since tumor cells hijack blood vessels and cellular signaling pathways to allow them to move around the brain, mimicking this mechanism may be a way to lure the eager cancer cells to a single location where they can be easily killed.
Now researchers from Georgia Tech, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Emory University have developed a system made out of polymer nanofibers that works like a vacuum cleaner to move cells from within a tumor to a cytotoxic hydrogel where they meet their final fate. They tested the system on mice with human glioblastoma and showed that the tumors of mice treated with the nanofibers were significantly smaller than those untreated, or treated with a look-alike smooth fiber not designed to provide therapy. Here’s a Georgia Tech video report with more about the technology: