In the area of skin cancer there are clear medical needs that remain unmet. New approaches are under development, such as immunotherapy and electroporation. In electroporation a brief electric field is applied to the cancerous cell, triggering the temporary creation of channels in the outer membrane and thus increasing 1000-fold the uptake of anticancer drugs
The hand-held applicator has a hexagonal arrangement of electrode needles that, when activated, deliver electrical pulses
Delivering therapeutic agents into the cells of cancerous tumours presents a challenge. Punit Dhillon* and Michael Cross**, OncoSec Medical, review the next-generation of targeted and novel approaches to the treatment of solid tumours.
At some point in their lives, one in five people will suffer from skin cancer, and the proportion is rising steadily. In spite of innovations in sunscreen technology and growing public awareness of the need to be shielded from the sun, data reported recently in Dermatology Times show a rise in the average American lifetime risk of one deadly skin cancer variety – invasive melanoma – from 1/600 in 1960 to 1/50 in 2008. Despite better and earlier diagnosis and innovations in approaches to treatment, the age-adjusted number of annual deaths per 100,000 population is still rising. Additionally, the expense to the healthcare system and society continues to increase.
As US and European populations age, the incidence and prevalence of skin cancer and other solid tumour cancers will continue to grow. According to the latest US cancer statistics, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2007, the top 10 cancer types (based on incidence rate) are in the solid tumour category; today the priority is probably even higher. Thus, there are clear medical needs that remain unmet and the creation of novel, cost-efficient and patient-friendly treatments therefore remains a top priority for the healthcare community and patients alike.
The treatment of skin cancers, which range from melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma to cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, continues to be a substantial challenge for physicians. For example, in spite of innovations in drug discovery and development, it is still challenging to simply deliver drugs into cancer cells in a safe and effective manner. Meanwhile, today’s other non-chemotherapeutic approaches – involving surgery and radiation therapy – each have significant drawbacks, including pain, disfigurement and a negative quality of life impact and are cost-disadvantageous....
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