Cancer drug delivery made more potent with microbubbles

January 12, 2021

University of Leeds research has shown how microbubbles deliver powerful cancer drugs can be guided to the site of a tumor using antibodies.

Microbubbles are small manufactured spheres half the size of a red blood cell and scientists believe they can be used to transport drugs to highly specific locations within the body.  

Lead researchers from the  School of Medicine, describe how they targeted microbubbles through the use of a navigational aid – antibodies attracted to the growth hormone found in high levels in the blood vessels supplying a tumor. 

The antibodies were attached to the microbubbles. As a result of being attracted to the growth hormone, the microbubbles became concentrated at the site of the tumor. A pulse from an ultrasound device was used to burst open the microbubbles, and that released the anti-cancer agent.

The study was conducted on animals, which were used as a model to try and develop this technique for use in humans.

The study also revealed that attaching the drug directly to the microbubbles allowed it to circulate in the body for longer, increasing delivery into the tumor, in effect making the drug more potent.  As a result, the scientists were able to slow cancer growth with a much smaller drug dose.  

The next stage of the research is to look at using microbubbles to develop targeted, triggered, delivery systems in patients for the diagnosis and treatment of advanced colorectal cancer.

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Category: Education, Features

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