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World first: Localized delivery of an anti-cancer drug by remote-controlled microcarriers

Date:
March 18, 2011
Source:
Polytechnique Montréal
Summary:
Soon, drug delivery that precisely targets cancerous cells without exposing the healthy surrounding tissue to the medication's toxic effects will no longer be an oncologist's dream but a medical reality, new research suggests. Using a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system, scientists have successfully guided microcarriers loaded with a dose of anti-cancer drug through the bloodstream of a living rabbit, right up to a targeted area in the liver, where the drug was successfully administered.

Left: Navigation using magnetic resonance in the hepatic artery. Right: Image of liver using magnetic resonance. Key: Blue dots represent therapeutic magnetic microcarriers (TMMC); + represent anticancer agents; Red oval is part of the liver; Red bar is the catheter.
Credit: Image courtesy of Polytechnique Montréal

Soon, drug delivery that precisely targets cancerous cells without exposing the healthy surrounding tissue to the medication's toxic effects will no longer be an oncologist's dream but a medical reality, thanks to the work of Professor Sylvain Martel, Director of the Nanorobotics Laboratory at Polytechnique Montréal.

Known for being the world's first researcher to have guided a magnetic sphere through a living artery, Professor Martel is announcing a new breakthrough in the field of nanomedicine. Using a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system, his team successfully guided microcarriers loaded with a dose of anti-cancer drug through the bloodstream of a living rabbit, right up to a targeted area in the liver, where the drug was successfully administered. This is a medical first that will help improve chemoembolization, a current treatment for liver cancer.

Microcarriers on a mission

The therapeutic magnetic microcarriers (TMMCs) were developed by Pierre Pouponneau, a PhD candidate under the joint direction of Professors Jean-Christophe Leroux and Martel. These tiny drug-delivery agents, made from biodegradable polymer and measuring 50 micrometers in diameter -- just under the breadth of a hair -- encapsulate a dose of a therapeutic agent (in this case, doxorubicin) as well as magnetic nanoparticles.

Essentially tiny magnets, the nanoparticles are what allow the upgraded MRI system to guide the microcarriers through the blood vessels to the targeted organ. During the experiments, the TMMCs injected into the bloodstream were guided through the hepatic artery to the targeted part of the liver where the drug was progressively released.

The results of these in-vivo experiments have recently been published in the journal Biomaterials and the patent describing this technology has just been issued in the United States.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Polytechnique Montréal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Pierre Pouponneau, Jean-Christophe Leroux, Gilles Soulez, Louis Gaboury, Sylvain Martel. Co-encapsulation of magnetic nanoparticles and doxorubicin into biodegradable microcarriers for deep tissue targeting by vascular MRI navigation. Biomaterials, 2011; 32 (13): 3481 DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.12.059

Cite This Page:

Polytechnique Montréal. "World first: Localized delivery of an anti-cancer drug by remote-controlled microcarriers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110316084417.htm>.
Polytechnique Montréal. (2011, March 18). World first: Localized delivery of an anti-cancer drug by remote-controlled microcarriers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110316084417.htm
Polytechnique Montréal. "World first: Localized delivery of an anti-cancer drug by remote-controlled microcarriers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110316084417.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

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