With great controllability comes great toxicity: high-precision drug delivery for brain tumors and pancreatic cancer
Linda Waldherr a
a Gottfried Schatz Research Center for Cell Signaling, Metabolism and Aging, Medical Physics and Biophysics Division, Medical University of Graz, Graz
Proceedings of Bioelectronic Interfaces: Materials, Devices and Applications (CyBioEl)
Limassol, Cyprus, 2024 October 22nd - 25th
Organizers: Eleni Stavrinidou and Achilleas Savva
Oral, Linda Waldherr, presentation 019
Publication date: 28th June 2024

Many cancer treatments face challenges due to inefficient delivery and systemic toxicity. Our solution involves utilizing iontronic devices for localized chemotherapy. These devices enable precise and continuous delivery of anti-cancer agents, and therefore, very potent tumor killing properties.

We demonstrate their effectiveness in two ways: i) electrically controlled chemotherapy and ii) releasing potent chemotherapeutics from a hydrogel with an electric trigger. Iontronic chemotherapy was able to stop tumor growth of brain tumors grown in an embryonic avian model. We currently test a wireless iontronic implant in freely moving rats with orthotopic tumors in their brain and monitor the tumor size with MRI.

For using even more potent drugs with efficiencies in the picomolar range, we use a click-to-release mechanism to release drugs from hydrogels, and demonstrate the system with pancreatic cancer cells. This system allows tight control over the release of highly potent therapeutics on demand, ensuring high toxicity specifically towards tumor cells but a non-toxic state when the gel is not activated.


The research has been funded by the EIC Pathfinder "bioSWITCH": #101099963 and BioTechMed Graz (Young Research Groups Grant)

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