Innovative injectable foam research underway in Chippewa Valley

Collaborative research into developing clinical foam to protect cancer patients from damaging healthy tissue during treatment is underway in the Chippewa Valley.
(Courtesy UWEC)
(Courtesy UWEC)(UWEC)
Published: Apr. 10, 2021 at 8:48 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Mayo Clinic Health System has teamed up with the UW-Eau Claire biomedical innovator program to work on injectable foam research.

In this unique collaboration, materials are being developed and tested for separation and protection of healthy organs and tissues during the treatment of tumors by freezing or heating.

A number of undergraduate researchers have been instrumental in this work, creating and testing the foams along with collecting and analyzing the data.

The research began in January 2019 when Dr. Jeremy McBride, an interventional radiologist at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, reached out to the university.

McBride says he has wanted to work on the idea of injectable foam for years, and the combination of resources with UW-Eau Claire allowed this to come to fruition.

“One of the techniques that was used then and is still used now is to inject fluid between the tumor and the structure that you want to protect, in order to create a bit of a buffer, but the problem with injecting fluid is it tends to run downhill to the bottom of the patient,” says McBride. “My mentor said it would be great if we could develop foam or a gel of some type that would stay put where you inject it.”

“I’ve been working with Aaron to engineer a foam material that breaks down within the human body and so really putting my engineer skills that I’ve learned or the past three years to the test and given this opportunity at Eau Claire it’s been exciting to even as a student use the knowledge that I’ve gained,” Cuyler Monahan, UWEC student and research assistant.

Students involved hope to continue their research and prepare for human trials one day.

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