JUN 06, 2018 5:28 AM PDT

Gas Embolotherapy: Potential New Drug Delivery System

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

The use of various techniques to cut off the blood vessels that feed tissue growth is known as embolization.

Embolization has acquired attention from the past few decades in the treatment of cancerous tumors. It is essentially a method of starving tumors from receiving a blood supply and nutrients necessary for cancer to thrive. It is also a method proven to be less invasive than surgery and require less use of injected chemotherapeutics, or the reduced use of lodged nanoscopic beads directly onto the blood vessels.

Now, scientists have found another form embolization, known as gas embolotherapy.

During gas embolotherapy, the blood supply is shut down using acoustic droplet vaporization (ADV), which utilizes microscopic gas bubbles induced from the exposure to ultrasonic waves.More specially, investigators from China and France have found that these microscopic gas bubbles could be used utilized in the drug discovery process as a potential drug delivery system. "We have found that gas embolotherapy has great potential to not only starve tumors by shutting off blood flow, but also to be used as a source of targeted drug delivery," explains Yi Feng, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Xi'an Jiaotong University and first co-author of the paper.

In gas embolotherapy, investigators inject droplets, in tens to hundreds of nanometers in diameter, into the feeder vessels surrounding the tumor. Microscopic gas bubbles are then produced from the droplets through an ultrasound, and growing large enough to prevent the feeder vessels (e.g., arterioles). Transforming droplets into bubbles is a process known as ADV. In older studies, investigators used ADV to starve tumors from a nutrient supply, however, the ADV worked to not only prevent arterioles blood supply, but ADV allowed gas bubbles to make their way into capillaries producing vessel rupture and a leaky microvasculature.

Now, gas embolotherapy through ADV was studied to further explore the dynamics of bubble formation inside the capillaries. These research findings could provide a one-two punch for cancer treatment: 1) cutting blood supply to the tumors from the arterioles and 2) drug delivery through the capillaries. "In cancer therapy research, scientists are always interested in answering two questions: how to kill the cancer effectively and how to reduce the side effects of chemotherapeutic drugs," said Mingxi Wan, professor of biomedical engineering also at Xi'an Jiaotong University and corresponding author of the paper. "We have found that gas embolotherapy has the potential to successfully address both of these areas."

 

Source: American Institute of Physics

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
DEC 05, 2019
Health & Medicine
DEC 05, 2019
Once-a-Month Contraceptive Pill Closer to Reality
While a variety of contraceptive options exist, each has its pros and cons. As many women understand, one of the major drawbacks of the daily birth control...
DEC 17, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
DEC 17, 2019
A New Tool for Assessing the Impact of Drugs on Single Cells
When scientists assess the impact of a treatment like a drug on cells, they usually generally rely on large populations of cells to find general trends....
DEC 20, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
DEC 20, 2019
Can We Cure Down's Syndrome with Gene Therapy?
Down’s Syndrome (DS) is a genetic disorder brought on by the presence of all of part of a third copy of chromosome 21. Linked to delays in physical g...
DEC 23, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
DEC 23, 2019
FDA Approves New Schizophrenic Drug
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an atypical antipsychotic Caplyta (lumateperone; Intra-Cellular Therapies) for the treating schizoph...
JAN 14, 2020
Cancer
JAN 14, 2020
Could the flu vaccine shrink cancer tumors?
If you’ve been to the doctor recently, you’ve probably been asked if you want a flu shot this year. The flu vaccine is popular because it reduc...
JAN 21, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
JAN 21, 2020
Repurposing Existing Drugs to Treat Cancer
Drugs have to be rigorously tested before they can be offered to patients, so it can be much easier to find more than one application for a medication....
Loading Comments...