Chinese scientists develop novel hydrogel for post-surgical cancer treatment

Updated 2018-03-21 10:27:01 Xinhua

One of the biggest problems for cancer patients is the high recurrence rates after surgery. But a novel hydrogel recently developed by Chinese scientists has proved helpful in eliminating residual tumor tissues and preventing infection.

A team of researchers from Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology published their findings in the journal "Advanced Science" earlier this month, highlighting the efficacy of the black phosphorus (BP) incorporated hydrogel in the photothermal platform.

Cancer patients often blame radiotherapy and chemotherapy for their serious complications and side effects. More and more people are opting for photothermal therapy (PTT).

"PTT can treat cancer with minimal invasivessness, yet it has been stifled in clinical adoption for the insufficient biodegradability of the PTT agents. Our hydrogel tackles this problem," said Yu Xuefeng, the leading researcher of the team.

In their work, a new PTT system is designed by incorporating BP nanosheets with a thermosensitive hydrogel for the postoperative photothermal treatment of cancer.

Yu said that the newly developed hydrogel had excellent near infrared (NIR) photothermal performance and good biodegradability and biocompatibility in vitro and in vivo.

Based on these merits, researchers have developed an in vivo PTT treatment strategy for postsurgical treatment.

"Under NIR irradiation, the sprayed BP hydrogel can rapidly form a gelled membrane on wounds and help eliminate residual tumor tissues after tumor removal surgery," Yu said.

The hydrogel's antibacterial performance prevents infection in treatment and improves the efficacy of PTT, according to the findings.

"Now the hydrogel is a patent pending product. Our team is filing for a clinical adoption license in hope that the product can be applied for clinical uses at an earlier time," Yu said.

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