"Although the first study will be on patients with ovarian cancer, soon we hope that other cancer sufferers with solid tumours will benefit.
"Give that around one in eight people worldwide die of cancer, this could be a vitally important step in the treatment of this disease.
"We have now assembled an extremely experienced team to develop the Fibrasorb technology."
The Fibrasorb technology is a flexible fully resorbable device that can be formulated as a bead, a fibre or mesh, or as a tube put into the body which leads outside the body and through which drugs can be fed.
For the pre-clinical studies, funded by the Department of Health, Dr Perera will be working closely with Dr Vasanta Subramanian, a lecturer in the University's Department of Biology & Biochemistry. Dr Subramanian is a cell and molecular biologist with extensive research experience in gastrointestinal cancers and stem cells in the gastrointestinal tract.
Dr Perera has also been working with the University's Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology to make the fibres more sterile so they cannot be attacked by harmful bacteria.
Dr Perera said that other researchers had worked on using tiny beads as a way of delivering drugs locally, but the new system showed greater promise because it could achieve better control when delivering the drug.
A patent application has been filed on the drug delivery system, and drug companies across the world are expected to express great interest in the new technology. Dr Perera has been working closely with David Coleman and Jennie Solbé from the University's Research Innovation Services department, to develop this technology. Her students, who have made a valuable contribution to the project, include Chin Chi Tai, Christopher Campbell and Ian Lee.