Skin patch to make cancer treatment painless

New York: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed a fast-acting skin patch that efficiently delivers medication to attack cells in melanoma — a deadly form of skin cancer. Topical ointments can impart medications to the skin, but they can only penetrate a small distance through it.

While syringes are an effective drug delivery mode, they can be painful. Syringes can also be inconvenient for patients, leading to non-compliance. “Our patch has a unique chemical coating and mode of action that allows it to be applied and removed from the skin in just a minute while still delivering a therapeutic dose of drugs,” says Yanpu He, a graduate student who helped develop the device.

The researchers believe that the skin patch, tested in mice and human skin samples, is an advance toward developing a vaccine to treat melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. “Our patches elicit a robust antibody response in living mice and show promise in eliciting a strong immune response in human skin,” He said. “But we are excited by the possibility that the patch is another tool in the oncologists’ arsenal against cancer, specifically melanoma,” Hammond said.

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