Subscribe to Newsletter
Manufacture Drug Delivery, Technology and Equipment

Seeds of Change

The continual stream of reminders for check-ups, screenings and family history assessments highlights the seriousness of breast cancer. One in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and prognosis is generally good for most subtypes. However, outcomes are poor for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), which accounts for roughly 15 percent of all subtypes. Because TNBC lacks specific markers, current therapeutic approaches are limited to non-specific cytotoxic effects, making intratumoral delivery an attractive proposition.

A team led by by Alessandro Grattoni, Professor of Nanomedicine at Houston Methodist Research Institute, US, say they have developed a nanofluidic drug-eluting seed (NDES) capable of delivering localized treatment while minimizing side effects. Local implant systems, such as brachytherapy seeds, are already used in the treatment of cancer, but the seed developed by Grattoni’s team is multifunctional in nature – with the capacity to work as both a position indicator and drug delivery system. “Smaller in size than a grain of rice, our device is a tiny implant (seed) that contains the immunotherapy in metal reservoir that can be easily detected via CT imaging,” says Grattoni. “The seed uses a membrane with an array of tiny nanochannels – approximately 10,000 times smaller than the diameter of human hair – to regulate the release of therapeutics locally to achieve a sustained and constant release for weeks to months.”

Results have shown that immunotherapy released by the device produced a significant potentiation of local and systemic anti-tumor immune response and inhibition of TNBC tumor growth in mice (1), with negligible adverse effects.

Grattoni envisions the device mainly being used in combination with radiotherapy. The team is also testing the device in other solid tumor models, including pancreatic and lung cancers, as well as mesothelioma in a neoadjuvant setting. Grattoni also believes that the flexibility of the device gives it the potential to be used as an alternative treatment in cases where tumors are unresectable.

“The seed has the potential to garner amazing results for cancer patients and we are excited to see how far we can go with this work,” says Grattoni. “We aim to develop larger versions of our subcutaneous implants for the treatment of various chronic conditions; and with this transformative nanochannel implant approach, we hope to make a difference not only to lives of patients with cancer, but those with HIV (2), muscle atrophy or obesity and metabolic syndrome (3) as well.”

Receive content, products, events as well as relevant industry updates from The Medicine Maker and its sponsors.
Stay up to date with our other newsletters and sponsors information, tailored specifically to the fields you are interested in

When you click “Subscribe” we will email you a link, which you must click to verify the email address above and activate your subscription. If you do not receive this email, please contact us at [email protected].
If you wish to unsubscribe, you can update your preferences at any point.

  1. A Grattoni et al., “Nanofluidic drug-eluting seed for sustained intratumoral immunotherapy in triple negative breast cancer,” J Con Rel, 285, 23-24 (2018).
  2. CYX Chua, et al.,”Transcutaneously refillable nanofluidic implant achieves sustained level of tenofovir diphosphate for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis,” Journal of Controlled Release, 286, 315-325 (2018).
  3. CS Filgueira et al., “Efficacy of Sustained Delivery of GC-1 from a Nanofluidic System in a Spontaneously Obese Non-Human Primate: A Case Study,” Biomedical Microdevices,18;20, 49 (2018).
Register to The Medicine Maker

Register to access our FREE online portfolio, request the magazine in print and manage your preferences.

You will benefit from:
  • Unlimited access to ALL articles
  • News, interviews & opinions from leading industry experts
  • Receive print (and PDF) copies of The Medicine Maker magazine