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Scientists May Soon Treat Skin Cancer With Radioactive Bandaids

They say radiotherapeutic bandages have helped remove tumors in mice.

Image by Flickr user Anna Gutermuth.

Scientists are in the process of developing a testing a radioactive bandage which they say can be used to treat skin cancer. At this year’s American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Annual Meeting and Exposition, researchers from the University of North Texas said they’ve successfully used radiotherapeutic bandages to remove or reduce squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in mice. SCC develops on the outer layer of the skin, manifesting as a bump or dry, red patch of skin. It is often a consequence of excessive sun exposure.


Typically, SCC is removed and treated with surgery and radiation therapy. But these treatments are expensive, and are aggressive for the patients who have to undergo them. The bandages, however, can be placed directly on the skin to administer the radiotherapy. In the trial, the mice wore the bandages for one hour every day for 15 days straight. Three out of ten of the mice who were treated with the bandages had their tumors removed completely. The other seven out of ten mice experienced a reduction in tumor size.

“These bandages can be individually tailored for easy application on tumor lesions of all shapes and sizes, and manufactured on a large scale,” researcher Bhuvaneswari Koneru told the Daily Mail.

Koneru and her colleagues created the bandage through a process called “electrospinning,” in which thin, fine fibers are spun out of a liquid using an electrical charge. They will soon begin testing the treatment on larger animals.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there are more than 700,000 new cases of SCC in the United States every year.

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