Cisplatin is a chemotherapy drug commonly prescribed to lung cancer patients. Because it is administered systemically, the entire body gets a hefty dose of the toxic substance with side effects that are often quite debilitating. To better target the drug toward lung CA, researchers at the University of Strachlyde, Glasgow and TRANSAVE (Monmouth Junction, NJ) have independently developed inhalation microcapsules that can contain cisplatin.
From The Engineer Online:
While the concept behind their techniques is relatively the same, the materials used to make the bubbles differ. The Transave bubble is based on a lipid and the Strathclyde University team has developed a bubble made of a surfactant, cholesterol and dicetylphosphate.
Katharine Carter, a member of the Strathclyde University research team, said the reagents that make up their bubble are more robust, and the manufacturing method has the potential to be much simpler.
Neither technique is commercially available; however, Transave has already taken its drug-delivery system to stage two clinical trials, while Strathclyde is still performing animal testing.
The technique would work by placing drug-containing bubbles in the solution container of a nebuliser. Carter said their animal trials indicate a patient would only have to breathe in the bubbles for 6.5 minutes.
When the bubbles reach the lung, she added, they will be met by a vast amount of macrophages, which are white blood cells that break down pathogens with special enzymes.
Carter explained that these macrophages would recognise the bubbles as a pathogen and bust them open. ‘The drug will then be released locally at the cells and into the environment nearby,’ she said.
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