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 spectacular 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 prestigious journal Biomaterials and the patent describing this technology has just been issued in the United States.
The Nanorobotics Laboratory, which aims to develop new platforms for medical intervention, works closely with interventional radiologist Dr. Gilles Soulez and his team of the Imaging Research Platform at the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal Research Centre to develop medical protocols adapted for future use on humans.
Dr. Martel and his team receive financial support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Canada Research Chair (CRC), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies (FQRNT) and the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ).
About Polytechnique Montréal
Founded in 1873, Polytechnique Montréal is one of Canada's leading engineering university institutions in terms of both teaching and research. It is also the largest engineering university in Québec for the size of its student body and the scope of its research activities. With over 37,000 graduates, Polytechnique Montréal has trained nearly 30% of the current members of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec. Polytechnique provides training in 14 engineering specialties, has 230 professors and over 6,700 students. It has an annual operating budget of more than $100 million, in addition to a $70-million research fund.
RÉFÉRENCE : Pouponneau, P., Leroux, J.-C., Soulez, G., Gaboury, L. and Martel, S. (2011). Co-encapsulation of magnetic nanoparticles and doxorubicin into biodegradable microcarriers for deep tissue targeting by vascular MRI navigation. Biomaterials. Volume 32, Issue 13, May 2011, Pages 3481-3486. (DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.12.059)
Photos of Dr. Martel and images of the in-vivo course taken by the microcarriers available on request.
Polytechnique Montréal's Nanorobotics Laboratory: www.nano.polymtl.ca/
March 16, 2007, Fantastic Voyage: from Science Fiction to Reality? http://www.polymtl.ca/carrefour/en/article.php?no=2502Source: Annie Touchette
Dr. Sylvain Martel | EurekAlert!
Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine