International Brain Tumour Awareness Week

Saturday, 24th October to Saturday, 31st October 2020


Biomaterials for local delivery

Local delivery of chemotherapy involves the implantation of a chemotherapy-containing biomaterial into the brain tumour cavity during surgery. The chemotherapy drug is embedded in a biodegradable biomaterial for local controlled release, thereby targeting cancer cells which remain in the brain after surgery.

A significant number of implantable materials have been developed for this purpose, including those of both synthetic and natural origin. They have been prepared in many different forms, such as wafers, discs, films, rods, particles, meshes/scaffolds and injectable hydrogels. 

Gliadel wafers are the only drug delivery implants that are clinically approved as a treatment for newly diagnosed and recurrent adult glioblastoma. These wafers comprise biodegradable polymer loaded with the drug BCNU (carmustine).

Over recent years, a breadth of biomaterials have been developed for testing in combination with various anti-tumour agents. However, suboptimal diffusion of drugs from the implantation site into brain tissue remains a considerable challenge.

Polymer formulations are now being optimised for improved drug diffusion throughout the brain. This includes approaches involving drug-containing nanocomplexes which may potentially traverse brain tissue further due to their relatively small size.

 local video x720

Cancer Research UK video on YouTube.