New drug delivery system may improve skin cancer treatment

In collaboration with the Press Association

UK researchers have trialled a needle-free drug delivery system which could improve the treatment of skin cancer patients undergoing photodynamic therapy.

Photodynamic therapy is a relatively new form of skin cancer treatment, which uses a combination of light and a light-activated drug to kill cancer cells.

However, the success of the treatment can be limited, as the active agent is applied topically and must pass through the skin to reach the tumour.

Experts at Queen's University in Belfast have now demonstrated a new jet injection system, which sends a high-speed jet of the drug through the skin.

They found that the system can be used to deliver a larger quantity of the anti-cancer agent than a bioadhesive patch, where the drug is absorbed from a patch placed on the skin.

Researcher Desmond Morrow, a PhD student at the university's School of Pharmacy, presented the findings at the British Pharmaceutical Conference in Manchester.

He revealed: "Our research shows that a new way of administering the drug can improve the amount that crosses the skin barrier and gets to the required site."

Mr Morrow concluded: "This technology has the potential to increase the efficacy of photodynamic therapy in skin cancer treatment."