Research Highlights

Beating breast cancer better

Biplab Das

doi:10.1038/nindia.2008.158 Published online 24 March 2008

The polymer implant can be placed directly on breast tumours

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Researchers in Bangalore have evolved a new method to manufacture biodegradable polymer implants that can deliver a drug to pointedly kill breast cancer cells. The novelty of the method lies in that it makes uniform sized polymers helping in delayed release of the drug, thereby reducing the risk of toxicity associated with anti-cancer drugs.

The technique is called melt manufacturing method where a specially designed stainless steel mould is used to produce the polymer implant — poly sebacic acid-co-ricinoleic-ester anhydride — a biodegradable polyanhydride polymer. The researchers loaded tamoxifen citrate, the widely used anti-cancer drug, in concentrations of 10 and 20 per cent weight into the cylindrical implant. With 10 per cent drug concentration, it took 70 days to release 100 per cent drug. The implant with 20 per cent content took 48 days to release 100 per cent drug.

The technique used to make the implant did not alter the crystalline network of the polymer. "We have successfully prepared implants with a uniform size, surface, and cylindrical shape, which exhibit sustained drug release for several weeks," says one of the researchers Kshama Devi. The implants can be placed directly on breast tumours preventing any drug-related toxicity, she says.


References

  1. Hiremath, G. J. et al. Biodegradable poly (sebacic acid-co-ricinoleic-ester anhydride) tamoxifen citrate implants: Preparation and in vitro characterization. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 107, 2745-2754 (2008)