(Image source from: Purdue University)
In an age where 1 in 6 deaths globally is due to cancer, the researchers are making every effort to treat the deadly disease easily.
Recently, the researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a fast-acting skin patch that delivers medication to attack cells in melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, efficiently.
There are a number of treatment options available for cancer so far including topic ointment that can only penetrate a small distance through it, syringes that are effective but can be painful. They can also be inconvenient for patients, leading to non-compliance.
"Our patch has a unique chemical coating and mode of action that allows it to be applied and removed from the skin in just a minute while still delivering a therapeutic dose of drugs," says Yanpu He, a graduate student who helped develop the device.
Researchers first tested skin patch in mice and human skin samples using chicken ovalbumin as a model antigen.
According to researchers, skin patch is an advance toward developing a vaccine to treat a deadly form of skin cancer.
"Our patches elicit a robust antibody response in living mice and show promise in eliciting a strong immune response in human skin," He said.
The team vaccinated mice with their skin patches and compared the results with intramuscular and subcutaneous injections.
The microneedle treatment produced nine times the antibody level compared to intramuscular injections (used for flu shots) and 160 times the antibody level compared to subcutaneous injections (used for measles vaccines). The research team also saw efficient immune activation in surgical samples of human skin.
"Our patch technology could be used to deliver vaccines to combat different infectious diseases," said Paula T. Hammond from MIT.
"But we are excited by the possibility that the patch is another tool in the oncologists' arsenal against cancer, specifically melanoma," Hammond said.
The findings are scheduled to be presented at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall 2019 National Meeting and Exposition being held in San Diego, California, from August 25-29.
By Sowmya Sangam