After 18 days, the researchers found that compared to other rats, tumor sizes were substantially reduced in animals that had received the PCL nanofiber implants near the tumors. Tumor cells had moved the entire length of all fibers into the collector gel outside the brain.
While eradicating a cancer would always be the ideal treatment, Bellamkonda said, the new technique might be able to control the growth of inoperable cancers, allowing patients to live normal lives despite the disease.
"If we can provide cancer an escape valve of these fibers, that may provide a way of maintaining slow-growing tumors such that, while they may be inoperable, people could live with the cancers because they are not growing," he said. "Perhaps with ideas like this, we may be able to live with cancer just as we live with diabetes or high blood pressure."
Before the technique can be used in humans, however, it will have to undergo extensive testing and be approved by the FDA a process that can take as much as ten years. Among the next steps are to evaluate the technique with other forms of brain cancer, and other types of cancer that can be difficult to remove.
Treating brain cancer with nanofibers could be preferable to existing drug and radiation techniques, Bellamkonda said.
"One attraction about the approach is that it is purely a device," he explained. "There are no drugs entering the blood stream and circulating in the brain to harm healthy cells. Treating these cancers with minimally-invasive films could be a lot less dangerous than deploying pharmaceutical chemicals."
Seed funding for earl
|Contact: John Toon|
Georgia Institute of Technology