Researchers from the University of Nottingham have developed a new biomaterial that delivers chemotherapies to treat brain cancer. Their work demonstrates that their biodegradable paste led to increased survival compared to controls, and that half of all rats in a study were clear of any cancer as confirmed by laboratory tests. This exciting development may one day improve treatment options for glioblastoma patients, as well as those with other cancers.
Surgery is commonly performed to try to fight glioblastoma. Yet, one of the major challenges is that despite careful surgical removal of the tumor, some cancer cells may remain and cause cancer recurrence. The new approach from Nottingham uses biodegradable materials to slowly release chemotherapeutics into the surrounding brain tissue to kill off any remaining cancer cells post surgery.
The biomaterial formulation is made of PLGA ( poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)) and PEG (polyethylene glycol) microparticles, which are a powder at room temperature. When water is added, they form a toothpaste-like consistency. The paste contains two chemo agents, etoposide and temozolomide. It is designed to be applied to the brain tissue where the tumor was removed. As the gel degrades, it slowly releases the chemo agents into nearby tissue, helping to kill any residual cancer cells
Dr Rahman, Assistant Professor of Molecular Neuro-Oncology and senior author of the study said: “We are very pleased with this first demonstration that chemotherapy drugs delivered to the brain in this manner during surgery, can lead to a considerable improvement in brain cancer survival. The results give us a realistic opportunity to consider this therapy for a human clinical trial.”
The publication in Clinical Cancer Research: Overall Survival in Malignant Glioma Is Significantly Prolonged by Neurosurgical Delivery of Etoposide and Temozolomide from a Thermo-Responsive Biodegradable Paste
Image courtesy of researchers.