Low-Cost Therapeutic

Project title: Chemical ablation of cervical precancerous lesions

Project Description: The primary goal of this project is to replace cryotherapy as the current standard of care for treatment of cervical precancerous lesions in resource limited settings. Cryotherapy relies on inducing necrosis by lowering the temperature of the lesion, but it does not penetrate deep enough to treat more advanced cases. In addition, it relies on bulky compressed gas tanks and requires specialized equipment. Chemical ablation, and more specifically our current focus of ethanol ablation, induces necrosis by disrupting cell membrane and essential protein structure. It does not require any specialized equipment, is highly portable, will penetrate deep enough to treat even advanced lesions and is cheaper than cryotherapy. We are currently focusing on optimizing both the formulation and delivery of our injected agent. The following figure shows a typical tumor reaction to intratumoral delivery of ethanol with obvious effects of necrosis as well as a time course of the volume of 6 tumors with an average volume decrease of 82% over all individual injections. Our current path is to develop an in vitro system to study fluid flow through porous media (which simulates the tumor) in order to better understand the impact of delivery parameters such as rate, needle size and spatial pattern of injections (if multiple injections are performed). Additionally, we would like to simulate the impact of modulating the viscosity of our injected agent in both in vitro and in silico models.

Representative effects of intratumoral injection of ethanol on tumor. Both the onset of necrosis and tumor volume reduction have been observed; (B) Tumor volume response curve. Prior optimization, 82% reduction in tumor volume over 13 days has been observed. This reduction could be improved after the optimization.