Hydrogel treatment targets tumours

Hydrogels of cancer drug taxol injected directly into tumours have been shown to be more effective at inhibiting tumour growth than intravenous taxol injections of four times the dosage.


Taxol is used to treat many forms of cancer, including breast, lung and ovarian cancer. Its administration is typically every three weeks by intravenous injection and it can take several hours to achieve the required dose.

Hydrogels have great potential to reduce the dosing frequency of chemotherapy. They can hold exceptionally high drug loadings that are released in a controlled and sustained manner. However, synthesising such hydrogels is complex, ultimately resulting in low yields.

Zhimou Yang and fellow researchers at Nankai University in China have successfully simplified the synthesis of taxol hydrogels. Their hydrogel contains taxol conjugated to folic acid. The folic acid facilitates tumour targeting as many cancer cells have folic acid receptors so the hydrogels will sustainably release their taxol cargo through ester bond hydrolysis at the site of cancer cells.

Read the full article on Chemistry World.

Disulfide bond reduction-triggered molecular hydrogels of Folic acid-Taxol conjugates
Chengbiao Yang et al.
DOI: 10.1039/C3OB40969D

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