technique using polymer beads developed to treat cancer

London: Researchers have developed a new lab technique that is a safe way for using drug-eluting polymer beads to treat cancer.

Used particularly in cases of liver cancer, polymer beads are injected into arteries that feed a tumour, where they block the blood flow, cutting off the supply of oxygen and nutrients.

The beads then also release an anti-cancer drug directly into the tumour, reducing the systemic side effects.

The new research, conducted by the University of Huddersfield has provided with a method of finding a safe way of predicting what would happen in a patient’s body if the beads and the drug they contain are modified.

“There was no lab mimic that was able to adequately predict how the drug was released from these drug-eluting beads once they were in the body,” said Laura Waters, lecturer at the University of Huddersfield, London.

“The article describes a way of doing it in the lab. We compared our results with in vivo data and proved that the method worked,” Waters added in the study published in the European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The researchers were able to carry out lab experiments in which a buffer — a liquid that mimics blood — was pumped at different rates through the beads.

They also modified the quantities of drug contained in the beads. By comparing their laboratory observations with in vivo data, the research team was able to establish the validity of their simulation technique.

“It’s important from a product development perspective that if we wanted to put other drugs into the beads, or change anything about their chemistry, we could use this system to predict product behaviour before it is given to people,” said Andy Lewis, professor at the University of Huddersfield.