Do you know about the injectable gel that cures metastasis in a cold cancer model?

The hydrogel drug (Imigel) is an immunoadjuvant drug for treating cancer.
Image-guided therapy in mice turned a “cold” tumor, one that is resistant to immunotherapy, into a “hot” immunotherapy-sensitive tumor, allowing immune cells to target and attack the tumor both locally and systemically. The image-guided therapy converted a “cold” tumor, one
that is resistant to immunotherapy, into a “hot” immunotherapy-sensitive tumor, allowing immune cells to target and attack the tumor both locally and systemically.

This finding was named “Image-guided intratumoral cancer vaccine for treating metastatic immunotherapy-resistant cancer with and without cryoablation.” The researchers wanted to discover a mechanism for injecting imiquimod, a topical cancer drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, and getting it to rem,main in the tumor for about 5 days, which is the time it can take to activate the immune system. It was also expected to be used to optimize image guidance.

The problem with imiquimod is that it is a small molecule, so it disappears very quickly. One of the elements that has been a challenge for many of our intratumoral injections is the lack of retention of the medicines. Working in collaboration with the interventional radiologist laboratory of MGH Eric Wehrenberg-Klee, MD, and engineering collaborators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), they developed a radiopaque gel that becomes liquid at room temperature but solidifies in the tumor in the body.

Using two metastatic mouse tumor models resistant to checkpoint inhibitors (CPIs), the researchers evaluated 90-day survival after injection with and without cryoablation. Cryoablation has long been shown to have an immune-stimulating effect, meaning they were able to demonstrate that complete regression of a relatively large tumor that they had implanted distally in the site they treated could be obtained, which could be considered as a personalized cancer vaccine. Thus, by taking a clinically approved drug, using materials that are recognized as safe, combining them, and then injecting the material with and without cryoablation, they were able to demonstrate that yes, indeed, we can heat up a cold tumor in many ways simply by improving the retention of drugs that we already have.

“Unfortunately, many people still do not know that interventional radiology exists.” Certainly injecting tumors directly with immunotherapy is the future of cancer treatment. Hydrogels and other agents such as ionic liquids make very promising delivery options to help keep the medication in the tumor site. These techniques are advancing Intratumoral immunotherapy to the next level.

Reference:
Powers, M. P. (2023a, marzo 5). Injectable gel platform cures cancer
metastasis in a «cold» model. IR Quarterly.
http://irq.sirweb.org/sirtoday/injectable-gel-platform-cures-cancermetastasis-in-a-cold/