Glioblastoma is a malignant brain tumor known for its aggressiveness and difficulty to treat. However, a new hydrogel treatment has shown promising results in eliminating glioblastoma tumors in mice.
The Hydrogel Treatment
The hydrogel treatment uses paclitaxel, a chemotherapy drug, to create nano-sized filaments for insertion into the brain. The hydrogel covers the cancer cavity and grooves left by tumor removal evenly, releasing an antibody called aCD47 over several weeks. The treatment reaches parts of the tumor site that other drugs may miss.
Combining Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy
The hydrogel treatment is unique as it can deliver both chemotherapy and immunotherapy simultaneously. The treatment strategy is described as a “drug-delivered-by-drug,” and in tests, it appeared to boost the animals’ immune systems. When glioblastoma tumors were reintroduced, the mice could fight them off independently, without further treatment.
The Importance of Surgery
While the hydrogel treatment has been effective in eliminating glioblastoma tumors, surgery is still required to remove the original tumor. When the hydrogel was applied without first removing the tumor, the survival rate dropped to 50 percent. The surgery alleviates some of the pressure and allows more time for the hydrogel to activate the immune system to fight the cancer cells.
Although this new hydrogel treatment has only been tested on mice, it shows great promise in treating glioblastoma in humans. The researchers admit that there is a challenge in converting their discoveries into practical treatments that work on the human brain. However, they believe that this hydrogel treatment will be the future and will supplement current treatments for brain cancer. With recent technological advancements, there is a need for new treatment strategies to combat glioblastoma, and this hydrogel treatment could be the answer.