A Virginia Tech polymer chemist and a University of Virginia clinical oncologist, have teamed up to create a special gel to reduce the pain associated with cervical cancer brachytherapy. This kind of therapy involves placing radioactive sources near the location of tumors, which essentially kill the cancer cells. Gauze is placed within the vagina to help with bleeding and other side effects, and it along with the cells dying from the therapy generates pain.
The new gel is made to replace the gauze with something more pleasant, and biocompatible gels can be very smooth, soft, and conforming. The new gel from he researchers in Virginia is made mostly of baking soda and a digestive aid, and it is actually “manufactured” once the ingredients are injected into the body. The ingredients, along with the body’s moisture, combine in a “click” reaction that quickly forms bonds that produce the gel form of the material.
It is hoped that the gel will be delivered before brachytherapy to isolate the tumors and soothe the nearby tissues during and post the procedure. So far, it has been tried in human cadavers and pre-clinical studies will be the next step before women with cervical cancer can safely try it during their treatments.
Via: Virginia Tech…