Gradual release of immunotherapy at site of tumor surgery prevents tumors from returning

Technique delivers the right agent to the right place at the right time Results set stage for testing the approach in patients Holds promise to be effective against multiple tumor types

A new study by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists suggests it may be possible to prevent tumors from recurring and to eradicate metastatic growths by implanting a gel containing immunotherapy during surgical removal of a tumor.

In the study, published online today by Science Translational Medicine, researchers removed breast tumors from mice and placed biodegradable gels containing an immune-stimulating drug in the resulting empty space. The gels released the drug, which switches on a key type of immune cell, over an extended period of time. When researchers examined the animals over the next several months, they found that this approach cured a much higher proportion of mice than delivery of the drug by other techniques. Not only did the original tumors not recur in the breast, but metastatic tumors in the lungs – far away from the site of drug delivery – were eliminated as well.

The researchers say the findings, which were duplicated in mice with lung cancer and melanoma, hold immense promise for overcoming two of the


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