An international team of EU-funded researchers has lifted and spun a 10 cm-diameter rubber disk floating in a cylinder of water with an ultrasound beam. The breakthrough (it's the first time that ultrasound waves have been used to turn objects rather than simply push them) may lead to the development of efficient non-invasive drug-delivery techniques and therapeutic solutions.
Ultrasound waves could be used to guide a drug capsule through the body (opening existing cell barriers) and activate it, for instance, inside a tumour. Current chemotherapy-related challenges would be overcome: drug delivery would not affect healthy cells attached to tumour areas.
The research was partially supported by the NANOPORATION project, which has received more than € 2 million in grants from the Marie Curie Actions Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) EU funding scheme.
NANOPORATION, which started in 2009 and will run until 2013, brings together researchers from Israel and the United Kingdom with the aim of developing new solutions to overcome the current challenges of cancer chemotherapy.
The programme focuses on exchange of expertise in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)-guided therapeutic ultrasound, drug nano-capsules, cell biology and preclinical oncology research for targeted delivery of existing chemotherapy drugs.
Additional details on the attained scientific findings are set to appear in an up-coming study in the American Physical Society's journal, Physical Review Letters.