Biomedical engineering researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed a technique that uses a patch embedded with microneedles to deliver cancer immunotherapy treatment directly to the site of melanoma skin cancer. In animal studies, the technique more effectively targeted melanoma than other immunotherapy treatments.
According to the CDC, more than 67,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with melanoma in 2012 alone – the most recent year for which data are available. If caught early, melanoma patients have a 5-year survival rate of more than 98 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute. That number dips to 16.6 percent if the cancer has metastasized before diagnosis and treatment. Melanoma treatments range from surgery to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. A promising new field of cancer treatment is cancer immunotherapy, which helps the body’s own immune system fight off cancer.