Gas Bubble Could be an Effective Alternative to Chemotherapy

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Gas Bubble Therapy

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, have invented a new way to deliver drugs deep into tumour cells using gas bubbles. The invention could help do away with the complications of chemotherapy.

The micro-sized gas bubbles are coated with cancer drug particles and iron oxide nanoparticles wherein scientists use magnets to direct these bubbles to gather around a tumour. Thereafter ultrasound is used to vibrate the microbubbles providing them with the energy to penetrate into a targeted area. These microbubbles were successfully tested in mice. Chemotherapy drugs at present are largely non-targeted i.e. the drug particles flow into the bloodstream damaging both healthy and cancerous cells. Moreover, these drugs are flushed away quickly in organs such as lungs and liver thus limiting their effectiveness. The remaining drugs are also unable to penetrate deep into the core of the tumour which leaves behind some cancer cells alive. This could lead to resurgence in tumour growth.

The magnetic microbubbles soon after entering the bloodstream gather around a tumour with the help of magnets. This ensures that healthy cells are not damaged. The drugs in turn are able to penetrate a depth of 50 cell layers or more – twice the width of a human hair. This allows the drugs to reach both the surface and core of the tumour.

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