The effectiveness of any potentially cancer therapeutic drug or gene is limited by its ability to selectively enter into cancer cells without harming the surrounding normal healthy cells.
Research at CCRC, in collaboration with several European partners, has led to the development in improved methods for delivering chemotherapeutic drugs. These are delivered directly into tumours, using mild electrical pulses applied to the tumour, to allow them to saturate the tissue (Electrochemotherapy).
In clinical trials at CCRC, extremely positive responses have been seen in patients with cancer including those who did not respond to radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Just over 85% of tumour nodules have regressed after one application of the new treatment, with over two thirds of nodules completely removed. Breakthroughs such as this demonstrate the potential to improve the toxicity of a cancer drug without the side effects normally associated with chemotherapy.
Our focus over the coming years is to develop improved delivery systems that can be applied using endoscopic surgery thereby improving the recovery and comfort of many patients. The advance of improved surgical options to remove primary cancers using endoscopic tools and new treatments, such as electro-chemotherapy, will greatly reduce the recovery time of patients, resulting in the treatment being made available to those presently considered unsuitable for surgery.