Bioengineers in America have made a major breakthrough in developing ‘implantable drug factories’ that can deliver continuous waves of targeted treatment to destroy late-stage ovarian and colorectal cancer within days.

The size of a pinhead, the ‘drug factories’ contain a natural compound that triggers the ability of white blood cells to kill cancer. Once inside the body they become ‘drug producing beads’ that continue producing new doses every day to fight the cancer.

“We just administer once, but the drug factories keep making the dose every day, where it’s needed until the cancer is eliminated,” said Rice University’s Omid Veiseh, co-author of the study described today in Science Advances.

The treatment proved extremely successful in mice, with Veiseh confirming the team “were able to eradicate tumours in 100% of animals with ovarian cancer and in seven of eight animals with colorectal cancer”.

Human trials could begin as soon as the autumn because the components used have already proved safe for humans. If successful Avenge Bio, a startup co-founded by Veiseh, has the technology license to roll it out.

Beating cancer

In 2018, following the announcement that James P. Allison and Tasuko Honjo had been awarded The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of pioneering cancer therapies, Klas Kärre, member of the Nobel Committee, said their work in enabling immune cells to fight tumours was evidence that “we can cure cancer”.

Since then science and innovation has been unrelenting in going after one of the world’s biggest killers. Earlier this month, we reported scientists in London were developing a smart cancer therapy that uses an MRI scanner to guide a magnetic seed through the brain that can ‘heat and destroy tumours’. While in 2021 European researchers made a breakthrough paving the way for the development of precision treatments that can destroy cancers at source, when at the same time scientists in New York were busy on a new molecule that was showing real promise in eliminating a common cancer causing gene.

The post New cancer-killing implant set for human trials this year first appeared on Innovators magazine.

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