Available Technologies

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X-ray irradiation-activated hydrogel for effective on-demand treatment of glioblastoma and other tumors

Primary tumor reoccurrence often occurs following surgical resection in glioblastoma multiforme patients. Current hydrogel approaches deliver therapeutics using light or pH, but these approaches are limited by the tumor microenvironment. Researchers have developed an injectable hydrogel with unique materials that can be activated by X-ray irradiation for sustained, on-demand therapeutic delivery. These hydrogels can be loaded with CT contrast agents and therapeutic drugs without affecting their functionality, morphology, or injectability.


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is one of the most aggressive types of brain cancers. Patients diagnosed with GBM have a median survival of 14 months and two-year survival rate of 27%. These patients undergo extensive treatment, including surgical tumor resection followed by chemotherapy infusion and radiation, yet 70% of patients experience reoccurrence of the primary tumor. Injectable hydrogel biomaterials allow for the sustained delivery of anti-cancer therapeutics within the tumor cavity. Activation of hydrogels with light or changes in pH allow for the on-demand release of therapeutics. However, these activation approaches are limited by the inability of light to penetrate deeper into tissue and unanticipated fluctuations in pH of the tumor microenvironment.


Dr. Bouche and colleagues at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have developed an injectable hydrogel that can be activated by X-ray irradiation for on-demand release of anti-cancer therapeutics. X-ray irradiation is highly focused and not limited by tissue depth. Further, patients undergoing treatment for GBM are already prescribed radiation, eliminating the need for an additional treatment for drug delivery activation. Sustained release by radiation-sensitive hydrogels with dual loaded contrast agents and anti-cancer drug therapies could enhance post-surgical resection radiation targeting and prevent primary tumor reoccurrence.


  • On-demand drug delivery deeper in tissue compared to current activated hydrogels
  • Convenient drug delivery activation method for cancer patients
  • Tunable properties for spatiotemporal control of drug delivery


  • Cancer therapeutics
  • Drug delivery
  • Medical imaging


Treatment of brain tumors with X-ray irradiation-activated hydrogels

Stage of Development: 

  • Prototyped & tested in small animal model
  • Pre-clinical discovery

Intellectual Property: 

Provisional Filed

Desired Partnerships: 

  • License
  • Co-development

Patent Information:


Docket # 19-8911

For Information, Contact:

Jeffrey James Associate Director, PSOM Licensing Group
University of Pennsylvania