Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Forever Blowing Microbubbles
23 December 2013

Forever Blowing Microbubbles

Gene therapy – where cells are specifically targeted with DNA to repair or destroy them – is an exciting area of research that could revolutionise medicine. But progress has been slow so far. One of the biggest challenges is finding ways of smuggling the genetic payload into the right cells and dispensing it on cue. One new approach is to use tiny microbubbles made of long molecules called polymers (pictured), which can be loaded up with DNA and injected into the body. A short, targeted blast of ultrasound bursts the bubbles in the right place, delivering their DNA cargo. Unfortunately, microbubbles don't easily take up DNA, meaning they aren't as effective as they could be. Now researchers have developed a new type of microbubble that can take up more DNA than ever before, raising hopes that this technique could be developed for treating patients one day.

Written by Kat Arney

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