Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Slow Release
24 October 2013

Slow Release

To treat brain cancer, doctors typically cut out tumours before zapping residual cancer cells with chemotherapy. Problem is, chemo drugs don’t easily cross the blood-brain barrier, necessitating high doses that cause severe side effects. Doctors can leave drug-infused wafers in the brain after surgery, but the compounds are quickly broken down. Another solution is to encase the drugs in biodegradable polymer microcapsules that can be injected into the brain. And researchers have now developed a technique called ‘electrojetting’ to make microcapsules of uniform shape and size, which is crucial for the time-controlled release of the drugs they contain. A solution containing drug, polymer and solvent is squeezed through an electrically charged nozzle to produce evenly sized spheres, which will gradually release the drugs. Pictured is a scanning electron micrograph of the drug-loaded microspheres (coloured grey) overlaid with CGIs of drug molecules (purple) and brain cancer cells (yellow).

Written by Daniel Cossins

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