Researchers from the MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital have devised a more effective method to treat pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer deaths in US, partly due the inaccessibility of the pancreas, which lies deep within the abdomen, to chemotherapy drugs.
But the researchers overcame the hurdle with a small, implantable device that delivers chemotherapy drugs directly to pancreatic tumours. In a study of mice, they found the approach was up to 12 times more effective than delivering chemotherapy drugs by, which was the conventional treatment for pancreatic cancer patients.
"It's clear there is huge potential for a device that can localise treatment at the disease site," says Laura Indolfi, a postdoc in MIT's Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) and the MGH Cancer Center, who is one of the study's lead authors. "You can implant our device to achieve a localized drug release to control tumor progression and potentially shrink [the tumour] to a size where a surgeon can remove it," news.mit.edu reported.