Treating skin cancer often involves chemotherapy that must be delivered intravenously and cause side effects. New research is providing a type of chemo that can be painted onto the skin.

According to Michael Irving, “Finding ways to apply chemo or other treatments directly to tumor cells is a key area of cancer research. Recent breakthroughs include a technique where nanoparticles are injected and then only activated at the tumor site by way of x-ray pulses, which creates singlet oxygen to destroy the cancer cells.” However, these techniques are designed to target cancer cells deep inside the body.  “With that in mind, the researchers on the new study set out to develop a chemotherapy-loaded hydrogel that could be applied topically.”

In tests on mice, the topical gel treatment helped to slow down the growth of cancer. Irving cautions “The approach might not necessarily translate to humans, and there’s not yet any data on whether the gel would ever be enough by itself, meaning injections might still be necessary. That said, the researchers believe they’ve made the first steps towards the goal of a chemo gel that patients could just rub on their skin at home by themselves.”

Source: New Atlas

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