Antibacterial coatings on catheters used to deliver chemotherapy can hinder its effectiveness, new research suggests.
The good news, reported by researchers with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, is that switching to other types of catheter materials – such as graphene – may be a simple way to greatly boost the effectiveness of chemo, according to Medical News Today
Powerful cancer-destroying chemicals in chemotherapy are usually delivered directly into a patient's veins using a catheter. To prevent bacterial infection, the catheter, and the equipment it is attached to, is usually coated with silver.
But the new study shows that that antibacterial silver coating degrades some chemotherapy drugs, potentially reducing their effectiveness.
"We wanted to find potential problem sources in the tubes used in intravenous catheters,” noted lead researcher Justin Wells, an associate professor of physics at NTNU. “An interaction between the coating and the drugs was one possibility. Chemotherapy drugs are active substances, so it isn't hard to imagine that the medicine could react with the silver."
For the study, Wells and colleagues focused on 5-Fluorouracil (5FU), one of the most commonly used chemotherapy drugs, used to treat cancers of the head and neck, bowel, breast, stomach, ovaries, and esophagus.
They found that when catheters we coated with graphene, 5FU did not degrade.
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