New drug delivery technique may improve treatment for those suffering from liver cancer, and could eventually help those with other cancers  (Source:
Could improve chemoembolization, which is the current liver cancer treatment used

For years, researchers have been working on different drug delivery methods that could target cancerous tissue without placing harm on healthy surrounding tissue, such as the use of gold-coated liposomes and nanoparticles enclosed in electromagnetic field-activating liposomes. Now, a Polytechnique Montréal research team has developed a revolutionary new drug delivery technique that could finally be put to use in a hospital setting. 

Professor Sylvain Martel, study leader and Director of the Nanorobotics Laboratory at Polytechnique Montréal, along with Professor Jean-Christophe Leroux and Ph.D. candidate Pierre Pouponneau, have created the first drug delivery system involving remote-controlled microcarriers. Martel is well known for being the first researcher in the world to have controlled and led a magnetic sphere through a living artery. 

To create this remote-controlled delivery system, Pouponneau developed small drug delivery agents called therapeutic magnetic microcarriers (TMMCs), which are made of biodegradable polymer. Inside these TMMCs, which are only 50 micrometers in diameter, are magnetic nanoparticles and a dose of an anti-cancer drug called doxorubicin. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the microcarriers are led through the blood vessels to the desired organ. 

Researchers tested this technique on a living rabbit. The microcarriers were led through the hepatic artery to the liver, where the drug was released successfully. This is expected to improve chemoembolization, which is the current liver cancer treatment used. 

The patent for this new drug delivery method has recently been issued in the United States. This study was published in Biomaterials.

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