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delivering the drugs directly to the tumour
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 8:56 am    Post subject: delivering the drugs directly to the tumour Reply with quote

Professor Roy Rampling, from the department of radiation oncology at
Glasgow University, said it was not clear what the advantages of the new
preparation were over other biodegradable products such as the wafers used
to treat brain tumours.

"However, the disadvantages will probably remain the same," he said.

"These are firstly the limited diffusion of the drug product through the
tumour from the point of delivery, but secondly this will only treat the
local and accessible cancer and not the disseminated, often inaccessible,
disease that usually results in treatment failure."

http://news.scotsman.com/health.cfm?id=495322006

Doctors pioneer new chemotherapy treatment to reduce side-effects
LYNDSAY MOSS HEALTH CORRESPONDENT

CANCER patients could be spared some of the most distressing and sometimes
fatal side-effects of treatment, thanks to a new method of delivering
chemotherapy.

Currently, the powerful chemicals used to kill cancer cells are injected
into a patient's veins, so the drugs are carried all around the body,
often leading to sickness and hair loss.
Click to learn more...

But researchers have found a way of delivering the drugs directly to the
tumour, localising the effects of the treatment.

A team at the University of Bath has developed a method using tiny fibres
or beads that are soaked in the chemotherapy drugs.

These biodegradable fibres - called Fibrasorb - are implanted into the
cancerous part of the body. They gradually turn from solid to liquid and
release a regular flow of chemotherapy into the tumour - and a much lower
dose to the rest of the body.

As well as reducing the side- effects, this method could also cut the
numbers of patients who die from chemotherapy because they need such high
doses of the chemicals to kill their cancer.

Dr Semali Perera, from the university's department of chemical
engineering, said: "Side-effects from chemotherapy can be very unpleasant
and sometimes fatal.

"The new fibres and beads could cut out some side-effects entirely,
including nausea and vomiting, and could reduce the number of people who
die each year."

The fibres have already been tested in the laboratory and it is hoped the
first clinical trials with volunteer patients in Avon, Somerset and
Wiltshire could begin in the next few years.

The technology can be formulated to deliver the drugs in a bead, a fibre
or a mesh. It can also be delivered through a tube inserted into the body.

If the human trials are successful, the new approach could be put into
general use among many thousands of patients.

"Although the first study will be on patients with ovarian cancer, soon we
hope that other cancer sufferers with solid tumours will benefit," Dr
Perera said.

"Given that around one in eight people worldwide die of cancer, this could
be a vitally important step in the treatment of this disease.

"We have now assembled an extremely experienced team to develop the
Fibrasorb technology."

Dr Perera said that other researchers had worked with systems using tiny
beads as a way of delivering drugs locally. But she claimed the new system
showed greater promise because it could achieve better control when
delivering the drug.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of courses of chemotherapy are given to
patients across the United Kingdom.

Deaths due to the treatment are rare, and they usually occur when a
patient has an allergic reaction to the drugs or when they cause their
bone marrow to break down.

The side-effects experienced by patients depend on the type of
chemotherapy being used and the dosage.

Dr Emma Knight, the science information manager with the charity Cancer
Research UK, said: "The idea of an implant that slowly releases
chemotherapy drugs into the area of a tumour is very interesting.

"Gel wafers are already used in this way to treat some brain tumours.

"So far, this approach has only been tested in the laboratory, so further
studies are essential to find out whether it could be a safe and effective
treatment for cancer patients."

Professor Roy Rampling, from the department of radiation oncology at
Glasgow University, said it was not clear what the advantages of the new
preparation were over other biodegradable products such as the wafers used
to treat brain tumours.

"However, the disadvantages will probably remain the same," he said.

"These are firstly the limited diffusion of the drug product through the
tumour from the point of delivery, but secondly this will only treat the
local and accessible cancer and not the disseminated, often inaccessible,
disease that usually results in treatment failure."

Dr Emma Pennery, a nurse consultant at the charity Breast Cancer Care,
said: "Breast Cancer Care always welcomes new developments in the
treatment of breast cancer.

"However, as the study looks at the impact of this approach within a
laboratory setting, more research is needed to determine if there will be
any benefit to people affected by the disease.

"We look forward to hearing the outcome of further research in the
future."

More information about the treatment of cancer is available at
www.cancerhelp.org.uk
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