Scientists Develop a Wearable Patch to Treat Melanoma

Indian Flash

Melanoma causes the highest number of deaths among all types of skin cancer. The American Cancer Society (ACS) says that the US will diagnose less than 400 melanoma cases this year by the end of 2020.

Topical chemotherapy is more effective than conventional chemotherapy and gives effective postsurgical treatment. It has fewer side effects and toxicity.

Nevertheless, these microneedle based treatments are very painful. This limits their acceptance.

Scientists at Purdue University, in Lafayette, IN have found a new solution to the problem.

Researchers have published the results of the research in the journal ACS Nano. They have produced a patch that can be used to give topical therapy for melanoma without any pain.

Chi Hwan Lee, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Purdue and senior author of the study, told that his team has produced a unique wearable patch with completely miniaturized hypodermics that has enabled unobtrusive drug distribution through the skin for the control of skin cancers

Overcoming Pain In Treatment of Melanoma:

Surgeons prefer extraction by surgical abscission for skin treatment. However, melanoma may be aggressive and can recur frequently. It often needs chemotherapy and radiation treatment again and again.

If cancer has spread or surgery isn’t possible, chemotherapy is an essential element of therapy.

In these therapies, the patient has to suffer pain which isn’t possible for older or weak people. The side effects also increase for weak people and the treatment may prove toxic. So, scientists are looking at topical chemotherapy as it will be a further tolerable method.

Authors of the study say that although topical chemotherapy has promising results, polymeric microneedles are holding progress.

The microneedles utilized in topical chemotherapy are very small, still, can induce pain. Understandably, this can be very problematic especially in the procedure for ocular melanoma, melanoma of the eye. The cornea is very sensitive and the microneedles may harm it.

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The latest patch is a film flexible, water-soluble, and thin. It instantly dissolves after the deployment of silicon nanoneedles within the skin. The nanoneedles are biocompatible, and harmless for living tissues. Also, the body absorbs them after delivery of timed-release medicine.

Prof. Lee explained that the patch is completely dissolvable by body fluids. The patch substrate is dissolved immediately, in 1 minute of the initiation of needles to the skin.

The miniaturized nanoneedles make them ideal to be used as a medium for timed-release medicine.

Prof. Lee writes that the vitality and uniqueness of the technology are based on the use of remarkably tiny but long-lasting silicon nanoneedles. Those needles have focused and sharp, pointed tips that are simple for their insertion within the epidermis in a painless and also a minimally invasive way.

These needles have a huge drug-loading capability and they can deliver medicines before they dissolve. The capacity is more than the microneedles currently in use for topical chemotherapy.

Prof. Lee said that he started to look for a more reliable way than the current topical chemotherapy when he saw his daughter’s phobia of syringes while vaccination.

Prof. Lee’s team focuses on connecting an essential passage within engineering and unmet clinical requirements. The team’s field of expertise is developing wearable devices, they term as “peel-and-stick stickers.” Medical experts use these devices to deliver drugs. They also make devices to observe health requirements.

The scientist other than Prof. Lee who participated in the development were

  • Purdue’s College of Pharmacy, Prof. Yoon Yeo
  • Hanyang University, Prof. Dong Rip Kim.