Drug delivery device could "transform” cancer treatment
A new device created by a team at the University of North Carolina may become a weapon in fighting what are known as "solid cancers," such as pancreatic cancer--a particularly deadly disease--and breast cancer.
The treatment would involve using an electrical field to drive chemotherapy drugs directly to or in close proximity to a cancer tumor. The device, which uses what the scientists call, “iontophoresis,” could either be implanted within the body, or applied externally to work on a nearby tumor. Scientists say the electrodes would conduct the chemo drugs to the tumor via an electrical current, which can prevent further growth or in come cases, shrink the tumor.
The results of their initial animal studies, published in the journal, Science and Translational Medicine, showed that the device was able to deliver higher concentrations of chemo drugs to a tumor than conventional IV treatments, without increasing toxicity in the rest of the body. One test of the device in dogs, resulted in a “7-fold difference” in drug concentration, while circulation of the drug in the bloodstream was reduced 25-fold, according to the scientists.
The next step is to prepare the device for clinical trials with humans.