SEP 09, 2020 6:00 AM PDT

Microbubbles enhance delivery of chemotherapy drug

New research published in APL Bioengineering reports on a new technology developed by scientists at Tulane University that hopes to improve treatment options for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. The method, described as gas embolization, uses minuscule vaporized droplets of perfluorocarbon to enhance the precision of drug delivery.  

Photo: Pixabay

"By changing the treatment parameters in this paper, we were able to achieve tumor regression, and by combining our method with chemotherapy, we were able to reduce regrowth following treatment," said author Joseph Bull. "Gas embolization has never been used in patients. Demonstrating that it can induce tumor regression is really new. We're very excited about the work in this paper."

The method of gas chemoembolization offers a less invasive treatment option than the conventionally-used invasive transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), say the authors. By combining vaporized perfluorocarbon, a common organic material made of carbon and fluorine that has many applications in pharmaceuticals, anesthetics, and industrial fluids, with chemotherapy drugs (doxorubicin and tirapazamine), the team successfully blocked blood flow to hepatocellular carcinoma tumors. Doxorubicin was particularly effective when combined with gas embolization, shrinking tumors to 2.9% of their initial size.

The technique works intravenously, with the chemotherapy drugs binding to the surface of the perfluorocarbon liquid. The liquid bubbles act as emissaries, transporting the drug through capillaries without causing blood vessel blockage until they are vaporized. During this process, an external ultrasound is also conducted simultaneously, thus allowing the fluid mechanical interface of the droplet to fall in pressure until the droplet converts entirely into microbubbles.

This method allows the drug to be delivered door to door to the specific site of the tumor. As Eureka Alert reports, “The drug DOX binds to the shell of the droplet, and the medicine becomes available to diffuse into the tumor, while the microbubbles cut off blood supply to the tumor.” The authors continue, concluding: “Overall, gas chemoembolization shows promise as a developmental therapy and merits further study in more complex tumor models.”

Sources: APL Bioengineering, Eureka Alert

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
NOV 17, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Tumor Stiffness Linked to Its Aggressiveness
NOV 17, 2020
Tumor Stiffness Linked to Its Aggressiveness
  As tumors grow, tiny areas at their cores are found to become stiff prior to metastasis, or the spread of cancer ...
DEC 24, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
After Chromosomes Shatter, Cancer Cells Can Become Drug-Resistant
DEC 24, 2020
After Chromosomes Shatter, Cancer Cells Can Become Drug-Resistant
Many types of cells have to be replenished throughout our lives, and cells divide to replace those that are damaged or w ...
DEC 31, 2020
Cancer
Does inflammation make ADT symptoms worse?
DEC 31, 2020
Does inflammation make ADT symptoms worse?
A new study published in the journal Cancer considers the impact of inflammation on prostate cancer patients underg ...
JAN 04, 2021
Cancer
The most diverse genetic analysis of prostate cancer to date
JAN 04, 2021
The most diverse genetic analysis of prostate cancer to date
Racial health disparities are glaringly obvious in the case of prostate cancer where the risk level is roughly 75% highe ...
JAN 14, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Tip of the Iceberg: Inaccuracies in Prostate Cancer Diagnostics
JAN 14, 2021
Tip of the Iceberg: Inaccuracies in Prostate Cancer Diagnostics
  Only 10 percent of icebergs are visible on the surface of the water; the remaining 90 percent remains submerged. ...
JAN 21, 2021
Cancer
Whole body MRI shown to be most sensitive in detecting myeloma
JAN 21, 2021
Whole body MRI shown to be most sensitive in detecting myeloma
New research suggests that whole body magnetic resonance imaging (WBMRI) is a more effective detection method than other ...
Loading Comments...