Mass General Brigham Researchers Develop Gel For Solid Tumor Treatment

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SOMERVILLE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Mass General Brigham researchers just announced a promising new treatment option for those struggling with solid cancers.

In collaboration with the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, researchers developed a gel delivery system to inject a cancer drug directly into solid tumors. The gel solidifies upon delivery, contains an imaging agent to make it easier to see in CT scans, holds a high concentration of a cancer drug and controls the slow release of the drug.

“When we inject this gel into a tumor, we're able to teach the immune system to recognize the cancer and trigger it to attack not only the site where the gel was injected, but also other areas in the body where the same cancer may be hiding,” said Avik Som, MD, PhD, of the Department of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Intratumoral therapy, where cancer drugs are injected directly into tumors, has shown little success in clinical trials because most immunotherapies dissipate quickly from the injection site and are unable to precisely deliver the drug. This new gel delivery system could overcome those challenges.

“There's quite a bit of benefit to be gained by being able to treat patients with a single injection, and we think this technology has the potential to help with cancers that are currently challenging to treat,” said Eric Wehrenberg-Klee, MD, assistant radiologist in the Department of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The preliminary trials focused on colon and breast cancer tumors. In order to move the technology to the clinic, more rounds of safety testing are needed.

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