17 Jun Melanoma: Bioresorbable Skin Patch Developed to Deliver Prolonged Local Chemotherapy
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Chi Hwan Lee PhD
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering,
and by Courtesy, of Materials Engineering, and Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Conventional melanoma therapies, including chemotherapy and radiotherapy, suffer from the toxicity and side effects of repeated treatments due to the aggressive and recurrent nature of melanoma cells. Less-invasive topical chemotherapies by utilizing miniaturized polymeric microneedles are emerged as an alternative, but the sustained, long-lasting release of drug cargos remains challenged due to the rapidly dissolving behavior of polymers (typically, within 15 min-2 hrs). In addition, the size of the microneedles is still large for small, curvilinear and sensitive areas of tissues such as cornea (for ocular melanoma).
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? What type of skin cancer do you envision this modality to be useful for? If melanoma, what stage or level? Would this be used after excision?
Response: Our invention is a novel bioresorbable skin patch that includes fully-miniaturized nanoneedles on a thin, flexible, and water-soluble medical film, which is tailored for painless and unobtrusive delivery of chemotherapeutics to manage melanoma – the most serious form of skin cancer. For instance, the water-soluble medical film is temporarily used to deliver the nanoneedles to target site of the skin, and then immediately dissolved by applying saline solution within a minute. Consequently, the nanoneedles remain embedded inside the skin and subsequently undergo gradual dissolution over a long period of time (months), allowing for sustained release of the pre-loaded chemotherapy drugs. Comparing to other conventional miniaturized needles that are typically made of bioresorbable polymers at microscale, our nanoneedles are at least 30 times smaller and provide 10-times longer-lasting release of drugs, enabling less-invasive and sustained treatment of melanoma.
Melanoma relapse after surgical resection, frequently resulting from the outgrowth of residual microtumors, remains a significant challenge in the treatment. Systematic chemotherapy and radiotherapy are often employed to prevent the recurrence of residual tumors, but these methods may lead to toxic side effects. Our nanoneedle patch may reduce the risk of tumor relapse with minimal side effects by enabling sustained local delivery of therapeutic drug cargos with precisely controlled doses for a prolonged time, after surgical resection.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The new needle patch consists of fully miniaturized silicon nanoneedles that provide much smaller size and longer-lasting release of drug molecules comparing to conventional polymer microneedles, which could be useful for less-invasive, painless, and effective chemotherapy of cancers including melanoma.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Although current research focuses on the treatment of melanoma, the established drug delivery platform can be applicable for many other cancers. Someday, I wish I could create almost “unnoticeable” needles that can be penetrated into the skin in an “imperceptible” manner without pain during/after injection. As is often the case with children, my 7-years-old daughter, Jane Lee, express fearful thoughts about the needles when receiving vaccinations, which drives me to invent the “nano”-needles.
Disclosures: This work is supported from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR: FA2386-18-1-40171, Program Manager: Dr. Tony Kim), and includes international interdisciplinary collaborations with Prof. Dong Rip Kim’s Lab at Hanyang University in South Korea and Prof. Yoon Yeo at Purdue Pharm. I would like to mention the sponsor and collaborators.
Hyungjun Kim, Heung Soo Lee, Yale Jeon, Woohyun Park, Yue Zhang, Bongjoong Kim, Hanmin Jang, Baoxing Xu, Yoon Yeo, Dong Rip Kim, Chi Hwan Lee. Bioresorbable, Miniaturized Porous Silicon Needles on a Flexible Water-Soluble Backing for Unobtrusive, Sustained Delivery of Chemotherapy. ACS Nano, 2020; DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.0c02343
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