According to Medical News Today on Tuesday, doctors in Boston, MA, are investigating the possibility of administering drugs directly into the milk ducts via the nipple to treat breast cancer.
This approach will ensure that the drugs, which tend to have many side effects, do not affect the healthy parts of the body.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Survival rates range from 100 percent for early stage breast cancer to 22 percent for late stage breast cancer. Death rates from the disease have been in decline since 1989, largely due to earlier detection and better treatments.
The most common origin of breast cancer is milk ducts and the new jab will hit the nail on the head.
In addition to targeting cancer cells directly, nipple injections also avoid the unspecific side-effects and toxicity to other organs of other more conventional breast cancer treatments.
Nipple injections to treat breast cancer can also be repeated weekly or even bi-weekly over several months without causing damage to the nipple.
The only downside to using nipple injections is that the success depends on the skill of the operator. For example, piercing the duct will result in the drugs being injected into the fat of the breast, which then fails to attack the cancer cells.
Local delivery of therapeutic agents into the breast, through intra-nipple injection, could diminish the side effects typically observed with systemic chemotherapy - where the toxic drugs pass through all of the tissues of the body. It also prevents drug breakdown by the liver, for example, which can rapidly reduce effective drug levels.
Researchers injected live mice under anesthesia with Evans blue dye to help people understand the technique. The dye filled the entire ductal tree of the mammary gland, making it easily visible to the eye.
They claim that this technique is adaptable for a variety of compounds, including chemotherapeutic agents, siRNA (small interfering RNAs that can silence specific genes) and small molecules.
According to Dr. Krause, she and her colleagues are continuing their research.
"The authors have utilized this technique to inject a new nanoparticle-based therapeutic that inhibits a specific gene that drives breast cancer formation. This targeted treatment was shown to prevent cancer progression in mice that spontaneously develop mammary tumors."
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Emily Sutherlin is also the Pregnancy Examiner.
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