A new approach that integrates a minimally invasive, painless microneedle platform may help monitor protein biomarkers in responses to a combination immunotherapy against melanoma.

The platform is capable of absorbing the cell-surrounding, biomarker-containing fluid from deeper layers of the skin with an ultra-sensitive, single-molecule detection method (Simoa) that detects often rare, yet relevant biomarkers with higher sensitivity than conventional methods.

The researchers provided proof-of-concept for their approach in a mouse melanoma model in which they treated cancerous lesions with a novel therapy. The therapy acts locally on tumor lesions in that it combines non-invasive focused ultrasound (FUS), which generates heat at the tumor site to instantly kill tumor cells, with the delivery of a previously developed nanoparticle-bound activator of an inflammation-inducing protein known as stimulator of interferon genes (STING).

The findings appear in Advanced Functional Materials.

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The co-author of this research is Technion Professor Haim Azhari.