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Bursting bubbles with sound offers new treatments for cancer
Date:6/28/2010

nufacture the bubbles in sufficient numbers, of the right size and with consistent properties."

Working on the ultrasound side of the project is Dr Steven Freear from the University's Faculty of Engineering. He is looking at how specially coded ultrasound waves interact with the microbubbles generated by Professor Evans' team. The aim is to control the delivery of therapeutic drugs to specific localised sites and encourage their uptake within cells.

"The ultrasound wave makes the bubbles resonate, vibrate and finally burst. By changing how we code the electrical excitation signal, we can image and verify how many bubbles are at the site to ensure we administer the right drug dose before we burst them." explains Dr Freear. "This means we can use ultrasound, not only to detect and image the microbubbles, but critically to rupture them, delivering the drug payload in a controlled way."

The bubbles are made from lipids filled with a heavy 'fluorocarbon' gas, which has the advantage of not dissolving easily in the bloodstream, thereby ensuring the bubbles stay intact until they reach the correct location. One of the aims of the project, funded through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, is to develop a machine that can manufacture the bubbles at an industrial scale for use in clinical practice.

"Current manufacturing methods basically shake up a liquid to create the bubbles but the majority of those aren't the correct size and so have little therapeutic value," explains Professor Evans. "This method is fine for bubbles used in imaging where the components are is cheap, but once you start using expensive drugs and antibodies, it's no longer viable. We have some prototype machines we're working on and hope through the project to bring them closer to commercialisation."

Researchers from the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine with expertise in colorectal cancer will develop and verify the effectiveness of the tr
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Contact: Jo Kelly
jokelly@campuspr.co.uk
44-113-258-9880
University of Leeds
Source:Eurekalert

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