Cancer treatment is very often based on the administration of chemotherapy intravenously, which generates a lot of constraints and requires hospitalization.

On Tuesday, a study, conducted on animals and published by the Journal of the American Chemical Society, opens up hope for a simplified procedure. One of the possibilities envisaged to lighten the current protocol is indeed chemotherapy by the subcutaneous route.

Much simpler to implement and more comfortable for the patient, it is nevertheless impossible to practice most of the time, because the active principles are aggressive and tend to stagnate at the level of the subcutaneous tissue where they cause necrosis of the skin because of their high toxicity.

To circumvent this obstacle, scientists have developed a new approach: by coupling a sparingly soluble and aggressive active principle widely used in chemotherapy, paclitaxel, with a polymer having a very strong affinity with water, they have succeeded in obtaining an anticancer soluble, thus being able to pass rapidly from the subcutaneous tissue into the bloodstream, without causing toxicity at the site where it is administered.

During the preclinical development of this new chemotherapy in mice, they were even able to obtain better efficacy than with the commercial formulation of the active ingredient (Taxol) administered intravenously.

“Chemotherapy has many logistical constraints (requiring qualified personnel, hospitalizations, etc.), a high cost. The main interest of this new approach would be to facilitate chemotherapy and increase the comfort of patients, who could perhaps -to receive them at home”, explained to AFP Julien Nicolas, research director at the CNRS and main author of the study.

Although this research has yielded promising results in an animal model, it has yet to prove its effectiveness in humans. That’s why scientists have created a startup, Imescia, and hope to start a clinical trial in 2024.