About one in 20 people in the U.S. develop colorectal cancer, making it one of the deadliest forms of cancer. Current treatments involve surgery to remove the tumor with follow up appointments of chemotherapy. But chemo kills both healthy and cancerous cells. A new hydrogel patch developed by researchers at MIT could target cancerous tumors at the specific location, either before or after surgery.
It is designed to hit the cancer with a one-two-three punch. It contains gold nanorods loaded with chemotherapy drugs. When a doctor shines infrared light on the patch, the nanorods heat up, killing nearby cells and also releasing the chemotherapy drug. Gold nanospheres, engineered to stay cool, deliver a gene that stymies the ability of cancerous cells to infiltrate healthy ones. Credit: MIT/Ella Maru