Hydrogel injected near tumors helps direct cancer drugs to the site
Hydrogel injected near tumors help recruit cancer drugs to the site

Image of the Day: Right on Target

An injectable biomaterial calls cancer drugs to tumor sites in mice.

Nicoletta Lanese
Jul 23, 2019

ABOVE: In mouse models, an injectable hydrogel attracts a dye-labeled molecule (colored areas) to a specific location, demonstrating its utility as homing beacon for cancer drugs.

By injecting a hydrogel near tumors, scientists helped chemotherapy drugs hit their targets in mouse models. The hydrogel, laden with the molecule cucurbituril, captures the medicines in a cavity at each molecule’s center, researchers reported June 12 in ACS Central Science. Cancer drugs tagged with a targeting molecule home in on the hydrogel, get caught, and later escape when the acidic tumor microenvironment severs their bonds. Mice treated with the hydrogel displayed slower tumor growth and fewer side effects than controls.     

L. Zou et al., “Spatially defined drug targeting by in situ host–guest chemistry in a living animal,” doi:10.1021/acscentsci.9b00195, ACS Cent Sci, 2019.

Nicoletta Lanese is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at nlanese@the-scientist.com.