05 Aug 2009   |   News

Dundee to lead €2M project to apply nanoporation to cancer therapies


Dundee University is to lead a €2 million European Union project to develop new methods of delivering cancer treatments using MRI-guided focused ultrasound and drug nano-capsules.

The university will collaborate with two Israeli companies, InSightec Ltd and CapsuTech Ltd, on the nanoporation project, which will develop new, more efficient methods of delivering chemotherapy. These will integrate MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), focused ultrasound and also possibly photonics, with the delivery and activation of nano-capsules carrying anti-cancer drugs to effectively target tumours.

Andreas Melzer, Director of the Institute for Medical Science and Technology (IMSaT) at Dundee, said, “If we can combine these technologies of ultrasound, MRI and

nano-capsules [...], we will be able to release proven anti-cancer drugs in high concentration only in the area where they are required. The project partners have existing technology in each of the areas we are looking at. What we need to do is combine the best of it to create a new system which can deliver this very effective model of treatment.”

The treatment will involve drugs being injected into the body in the form of nano-capsules, which are harmless until they are activated by a concentrated focused ultrasound blast, using devices developed in IMSaT’s medical ultrasound laboratories as

well as commercial systems. The MRI scanner will be used to track the passage of the drugs, visualise the target and monitoring the delivery of the drug treatment.

InSightec is a manufacturer and developer of MR-guided Focused Ultrasound systems, and CapsuTech is a developer of a drug delivery platform based on targeted nano-capsules.

The project has been funded for four years through Framework 7 programme. It will create two new post-doctoral research positions and two new PhD positions at IMSaT.

IMSaT is a joint venture of the universities of St. Andrews and Dundee that brings engineers, physicists, mathematicians and life scientists together with clinicians, health service providers, and corporate partners to research and exploit the developments that are occurring at the interface between the biomedical and physical sciences.

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