Cancer, a difficult and feared disease, kills millions globally.
Despite advances in cancer research and therapy, better, focused medicines are still needed.
Hydrogel technology's potential in cancer treatment has garnered interest in recent years.
Hydrogels are water-swollen, three-dimensional polymer networks that can imitate biological tissues' physical and chemical properties.
Hydrogels can provide tailored drug delivery, minimally invasive therapies, and personalized medicine to change cancer therapy.
Hydrogel technology delivers medications directly to tumors, which is a major benefit of cancer treatment.
Systemic chemotherapy affects healthy and malignant cells, causing significant adverse effects.
However, hydrogels can be tailored to release medications at the tumor location, limiting harm to healthy tissues and adverse effects.
Targeted drug administration improves therapy efficacy and patient quality of life. Hydrogels can also respond to temperature, pH, and enzymes.
This responsiveness enables "smart" medication delivery devices that release their therapeutic payload only under specified conditions.
Researchers have created hydrogels that release chemotherapeutic medicines when tumors are acidic.
Selective drug release reduces tissue damage by activating drugs only when cancer cells are present.
Hydrogel technology can deliver tailored drugs and enable least invasive cancer treatments.
Hydrogels deliver radiation therapy locally. Radiation-sensitive nanoparticle-containing injectable hydrogels were developed.
These hydrogels release radiation slowly when injected into the tumor, curing cancer without harming healthy tissues.