South Korean researchers at Ajou University recently used antioxidant resveratrol, found in natural plants such as grapes, to create a hydrogel, which can effectively suppress cancer cell growth—a possible cure for breast cancer.
In 2022, Kim Moon-seok, a South Korean professor at the Department of Applied Chemistry and Biotechnology of the Graduate School of Molecular Science and Technology at Ajou University, conducted scientific research on a possible cure for breast cancer.
Kim and his researchers developed a hyaluronic acid-based hydrogel containing antioxidant resveratrol, which can effectively treat triple-negative breast cancer.
What Is Triple-Negative Breast Cancer?
Triple-negative breast cancer occurs in the human body when it lacks estrogen, progesterone, epidermal growth factor receptor 2, and an EGFR-2 gene expression.
About 15-20 percent of breast cancer patients have triple-negative breast cancer, a highly malignant disease with a five-year survival rate—less than 15 percent of all cases. It is most commonly found in young women and has a rapid growth rate.
Currently, the primary treatment for triple-negative breast cancer is chemotherapy—the downside of which is that patients can develop drug resistance over time, which significantly lowers the survival rate of this breast cancer.
Hence, a new effective treatment to cure this lethal breast cancer is urgently needed.
What Is Resveratrol?
Resveratrol is an antiviral hormone secreted from plants. More than 300 edible plants contain resveratrol, such as grapes, blueberries, cranberries, peanuts, and cocoa.
Resveratrol combats external trauma injury, bacterial infections, and ultraviolet radiation.
When resveratrol activates the self-destructive gene of the cancer cells, it suppresses the elevation of their growth.
However, resveratrol comes with limitations. Due to the rapid degradation of resveratrol in the body, it is difficult for its antioxidant efficacy to last for an extended period.
To tackle the issue, Ajou University’s research group injected resveratrol-made drugs directly into cancer tissues to create an organic degradable hyaluronic acid hydrogel that can be injected directly into the malignant tissues of triple-negative breast cancer.
Once injected into the cancer tissues, the hydrogel improved biostability and extended the survival time of resveratrol in cancer cells.
The research group also confirmed that once the malignant breast cancer cells die out after hydrogel injection, the size of the tumor becomes much smaller than when resveratrol was used alone.
Professor Kim elaborated, “Through the development based on hyaluronic acid-hydrogel preparations, our research proves suitable for various anti-cancer agents. Other than breast cancer, we look forward to treating various cancer diseases and treatment efficacy.”
He added that the newly discovered technology could also generate a potential and convenient drug transmission system that could minimize cancer patients’ side effects.
Materials Today Bio, an international magazine specializing in biomaterials, published Professor’s Kim research on Aug. 12, 2022.