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Smart bandage to stop cancer in its tracks

A group of European researchers have created a bandage that can identify and mark individual cancer cells, and even deliver a therapeutic treatment to these cells.
Smart bandage to stop cancer in its tracks
One of the biggest challenges in cancer treatment today is identifying and stopping cancerous cells at the tumour margin, especially after removing the tumour. Early diagnosis could also benefit from more precise cancer cell identification.

To this end, the EU-funded BAN-CANCER (Smart bandage for cancer margin theranostics) initiative brought together experts from many different disciplines to create a smart bandage to identify and even treat cancer cells in the tumour margin. They focused on breast cancer since the spread of the tumour after removal is common.

The most important part of the research was developing nanoneedles that insert into individual cells to look for cancer and deliver treatments. BAN-CANCER tested a number of different biodegradable nanoneedle designs before choosing one for its non-toxicity and effective insertion into cells.

Next, researchers attached a fluorescent Cathepsin B sensor to the nanoneedles. Cathepsin B is an enzyme that is overexpressed in breast cancer cells, and this sensor allowed the smart bandage to detect cancerous cells. The fluorescent sensor means that clinicians can easily identify tumour margin cells.

When tested on tissue samples in the laboratory, the smart bandage successfully discriminated between cancerous and non-cancerous cells. More impressive still is that it could efficiently deliver a drug or DNA fragment to individual cells for targeted therapy.

The BAN-CANCER smart bandage is nothing short of a revolution in cancer treatment. The bandage will allow easy detection and control of tumour margins, one of the most challenging aspects of cancer therapy today.

Related information

Keywords

Smart bandage, cancer, tumour margin, nanoneedles, Cathepsin B
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