Scientists believe they've developed a way to treat skin cancer more efficiently and without surgery.
Researchers at Yale School of Medicine developed an injection of nanoparticles and a chemotherapy agent that goes directly into the cancerous cells.
Dr. Michael Girardi says the breakthrough would allow doctors to treat multiple skin cancers at once.
An injection treatment could benefit health care systems and lower costs for patients.
Girardi says one of the most important parts in this possible treatment is how it targets the skin cancer.
“We load the anti-cancer agent within and that will slowly release over time. It keeps a lot of the anti-cancer drug right there within the skin cancer, so it can work long after the injection,” said Girardi.
Work on the treatment started more than three years ago. Researchers wanted to develop a method that concentrated on its intended target, but is also compatible with treatments that stimulate the immune system.
So far, they say the nanoparticles combined with the chemotherapy agent have been successful in clinical models.
“We have a special coating on these particles that allows it to be very sticky. So, when we put it into the tumor, it binds to proteins that lets it stay within the tumor matrix, which is a complex of proteins around the cancer,” said Girardi.
Girardi says the hope is each skin cancer would need just one injection, but it could take more than one depending on the severity and the patient. That is something that will be determined in human trials.
human trials are still a few years away, because they need to secure funding and partnerships.