CHINESE scientists have designed a hydrogel that might have a double effect in the fight against cancer, burning up tumors more accurately and boosting one’s anti-tumor immunity.
The study published on Thursday in the journal Science Advances described the metal-based biomaterial that was shown to enhance the heating efficiency and restrict the heating zone under microwave exposure, a local tumor ablation strategy used clinically.
The scientists from the Institute of Functional Nano and Soft Materials at Soochow University, enveloped calcium and manganese ions into a tiny alginate-based hydrogel.
According to the scientist, this can produce more heat in a restricted, targeted spot and avoid causing thermal damage to nearby healthy tissues.
The study said the existence of excess extracellular calcium ions was shown to sensitise cancer cells to mild thermal damage, thus promoting complete ablation of the primary tumor.
“Then, those cancer cells burnt to death will further work together with calcium and manganese ions to prime effective innate and adaptive anti-tumor immune responses.’’
The paper’s co-corresponding authors with Soochow University, Feng Liangzhu and Liu Zhuang said the molecular pathways activated in this mechanism could suppress the growth of both metastatic and relapsed tumors.
The researchers were re now exploring the possibilities of clinical translation, said Feng. (Xinhua/NAN)