University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine

Cancer Killer

Implant infused with drugs can treat ovarian cancer, minus the chemo side effects

Researchers at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy have devised an advanced drug delivery system for the treatment of ovarian cancer. PoLi, developed by Professors Micheline Piquette-Miller and Christine Allen, is an implantable film that destroys cancer cells while minimizing the side-effects of chemotherapy. The small implant, infused with cancer-killing drugs, is inserted directly into a tumour site after surgical removal of primary tumours. It steadily releases the drug over a two-month period, and dissolves naturally – it does not have to be surgically removed. “The PoLi implant has promise in the treatment of other cancers, including head and neck,” says Piquette-Miller. “We are also developing an injectable gel-based implant formulation that could be administered directly to the tumour site without surgery. This could also be used in the treatment of breast and prostate cancers.” PoLi still requires clinical trials, and a possible partnership with industry is being explored through Innovations at U of T.

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