Now, a triple-therapy patch to keep colon cancer at bay: study

A newly-developed triple-therapy patch may soon make open surgeries a history for colon cancer patients.

Investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital developed a hydrogel patch that can adhere to tumours in a preclinical model of colon cancer, delivering a local, combination treatment as the elastic gel breaks down over time.

The new technique may allow clinicians to one day use diagnostic colonoscopy equipment to immediately deliver treatment without the need for open surgery at a later date.

The researchers were able to deliver three therapeutic strategies in their mouse model of colon cancer: gene therapy, chemotherapy or thermal ablation or a combination of all three.

The team used gold nanoparticles to deliver a gene therapy treatment that targets Kras, a known cancer gene, and used near-infrared radiation to release a chemotherapeutic and cause heat damage to the cancer cells.

The local, triple-combination therapy not only shrank tumours but also had sustained effect overtime, preventing tumour recurrence and significantly extending survival of mice.

Senior author Natalie Artzi said, “Our preclinical results are remarkable – by using local, combination treatment, we achieved complete tumor remission when the patch was applied to non-resected tumours and elimination of tumor recurrence when applied following tumor resection.

She added, “Next, we would like to use colonoscopy equipment to locally apply the patch to tumors in large preclinical models. Using minimally invasive techniques to apply the triple-therapy patch and evaluate its efficacy has the potential to improve clinical procedures and therapeutic outcomes.”

The findings are published in the journal Nature Materials.