February 7, 2023

Researchers at Mass General Brigham Institute in collaboration with the Koch Institute have developed a gel that can be seen in a CT scan after being injected into a tumor, and is a new and useful method in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The use of this gel in combination with immunotherapy improved the survival of mice and affected untreated tumors, indicating its therapeutic potential for metastasized cancers.

Direct injection of anticancer drugs into tumors is a promising method for treating solid tumors. In this way, interventional radiologists can confirm the delivery of the drug and make sure that the drug really stays in the target area. The drug can be injected at room temperature and solidified at the site of the tumor. Also, the drug should contain a marker so that the treatment process can be seen using imaging.

 This drug carries imiquimod, which is an immune system stimulating drug.

In this case, a biocompatible polymer consisting of polylactic-co-glycolic acid and polyethylene glycol are placed in a three-block structure. This triblock structure enables two critical features that enable the controlled release of imiquimod.

Next, Iupamidal was added, which is a contrast agent for CT scans. The researchers named this gel drug delivery system ImigeGel. Using mouse models, they treated colon and breast cancer, which are usually resistant to immunotherapy, by intravenous injection. In this experiment, each mouse had two tumors of the same type, but only one of them was treated, allowing the researchers to investigate whether the gel stimulated local and systemic immunity. Researchers say within 90 days after injection. and treatment initiation, this combination therapy improved survival in both cancer models. For the colon cancer model, 46% of the mice survived. In the breast cancer model, 20 percent survived. This treatment is a complete method. Because the mice that responded to it showed complete regression of the treated tumor, while the mice that didn’t respond had none of their tumors regress. When this gel is injected into a tumor, the immune system learns to recognize the tumor and stimulates it to pay attention not only to the site where the gel is injected, but to other parts of the body where the same tumor may invade. slow This treatment has the ability to affect tumors that have metastasized.