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  • Writer's pictureWomen's Cancer Research Foundation

‘Drug factory’ Implants Eliminate Ovarian, Colorectal Cancer in Mice

Updated: Jan 12


Rice University bioengineers have shown they can eradicate advanced-stage ovarian and colorectal cancer in mice in as little as six days with a treatment that could be ready for human clinical trials later this year.

The researchers used implantable vials (the size of a pinhead) to deliver continuous, high doses of interleukin-2 (a natural compound that activates white blood cells to fight cancer). The drug-producing vials, in the form of beads, can be implanted with minimally invasive surgery (surgery that does not require a large incision). Each bead contains cells engineered to produce interleukin-2 that are encased in a protective shell. The beads are designed to continuously produce natural compounds that program the immune system to attack tumors. The medication is administered once where it’s needed until the cancer is eliminated. The researchers were able to eradicate tumors in 100% of animals with ovarian cancer and in seven of eight animals with colorectal cancer.

A major challenge in the field of immunotherapy is to increase tumor inflammation and anti-tumor immunity while avoiding systemic side effects of cytokines and other pro-inflammatory drugs. Perhaps, the results of this trial will address this challenge.

About Women’s Cancer Research Foundation

The Women’s Cancer Research Foundation (WCRF) is one of the most active research organizations in the nation. We are dedicated to studying and evaluating novel treatments for women afflicted with breast, ovarian, endometrial, and cervical cancers. The WCRF persistently endeavors to make a difference in women’s lives by offering them hope, strength, and progress.

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