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Published on 29 June 2010

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Bubble treatment being developed

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Scientists from Leeds University are working on a new technique which could see chemotherapy drugs delivered directly to a cancer patient’s tumour by bursting gas-filled bubbles.

The method involves ultrasound being used to burst bubbles which contain the medication. Current chemotherapy drugs will be used to get initial proof of the concept, before the delivery method is adapted for use with novel therapeutics being developed at the university to treat colorectal cancer.

Researchers hope to build on a current method which sees tiny gas-filled bubbles injected into the blood to produce clearer images on ultrasound scanners – the bubbles reflect a stronger signal than the surrounding tissue.

Some ultrasound signals burst the bubbles and the study team aims to attach drugs and antibodies to the bubbles before bursting them at the site of the tumour, releasing a dose of the drug to the desired area. Some cell membranes are temporarily ruptured by ultrasound, which would help the medication get into the cells.

The Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine team has expertise in colorectal cancer and will test the effectiveness of the method in cell culture and mouse models ahead of prospective clinical trials.

Copyright Press Association 2010

Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine



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