Leeds Microbubble Consortium

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Three pronged attack on cancer cells

23 February 2015

Researchers including Dr Sunjie Ye...

Researchers including Dr Sunjie Ye and Professor Steve Evans from the School of Physics and Astronomy have shown that gold nanotubes have many applications in fighting cancer including: internal nanoprobes for high-resolution imaging; drug delivery vehicles; and agents for destroying cancer cells

High recurrence rates of tumours after surgical removal remain a formidable challenge in cancer therapy. Chemo- or radiotherapy is often given following surgery to prevent this, but these treatments cause serious side effects. Gold nanotubes – that is, gold nanoparticles with tubular structures that resemble tiny drinking straws – have the potential to enhance the efficacy of these conventional treatments by integrating diagnosis and therapy in one single system.

A new technique to control the length of nanotubes underpins the research. By controlling the length, the researchers were able to produce gold nanotubes with the right dimensions to absorb a type of light called ‘near infrared’, which passes through human tissue. Therefore gold nanotubes travelling through the body will absorb light of the right frequency and convert it to heat, rather like the warmth generated by the Sun on skin. Using a pulsed laser beam, it was possible to rapidly raise the temperature in the vicinity of the nanotubes so that it was high enough to destroy cancer cells.

A new type of imaging technique called ‘multispectral optoacoustic tomography’ (MSOT) was used to detect gold nanotubes which had been intravenously injected in mice. It was also shown that gold nanotubes were excreted from the body and therefore unlikely to cause problems in terms of toxicity, an important consideration when developing nanoparticles for clinical use.
The nanotubes can be tumour-targeted and have a central ‘hollow’ core that can be loaded with a therapeutic payload. This combination of targeting and localised release of a therapeutic agent could, in this age of personalised medicine, be used to identify and treat cancer with minimal toxicity to patients.
The use of gold nanotubes in imaging and other biomedical applications is currently progressing through trial stages towards early clinical studies.
The study details the first successful demonstration of the biomedical use of gold nanotubes, in a mouse model of human cancer. The research paper, ‘Engineering Gold Nanotubes with Controlled Length and Near-Infrared Absorption for Theranostic Applications’, was published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials on 13 February 2015.

The image shows pulsed, near infrared light (shown in red), shining onto a tumour (shown in white) that is encased in blood vessels. The tumour is imaged by multispectral optoacoustic tomography via the ultrasound emission (shown in blue) from the gold nanotubes. Image credit: Jing Claussen (iThera Medical, Germany)

Alumni Feature

9 February 2015

The Winter 2014-15 Alumni magazine feature a detailed talk on<link...

The Winter 2014-15 Alumni magazine feature a detailed talk on 'How a Microbubble Works', thanks to a recent interview they held with Professor Steve Evans, Head of the Molecular and Nanoscale Physics group in addition to being a Primary Investigator in the Microbubble grant.

The two page spread takes you through the research and revelations that the Leeds Microbubble Consortium have uncovered over the past few years.

27 January 2015

We are pleased to announce that we have confirmed the following speakers for...

We are pleased to announce that we have confirmed the following speakers for the 5th Annual Microbubble Symposium, which will be taking place on Monday 29th and Tuesday 30th June 2015.

Professors' Ronald Roy, John Hossack, Roberta Cavalli, Natayla Rapoport and Dr Tony Higginson will be joining the Leeds Microbubble Consortium at Weetwood Hall this year to further discuss the development of Microbubbles.

Further details will be circulated shortly, if you would like to be added to the mailing list then please email microbubbles@leeds.ac.uk

Medicine, Not Just for Medics!

9 January 2015

Medicine is a highly competitive field that interests many students; however,...

Medicine is a highly competitive field that interests many students; however, medicine is not just about medics!  On Thursday, December 18, the STEM@Leeds team hosted 120 Year 10 and 11 students from schools across Yorkshire at the Medicine, Not Just About Medics event.  The high-ability students, already interested in studying medicine, participated in three different practicals from subjects across STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), exploring other medically related research areas and degree programs at the University of Leeds.

Members of Professor Evan's Molecular and Nanoscale Physics group at University of Leeds, Adam Chruchman, along with Radwa Abou-Saleh and Liam Hunter, hosted the highly successful Microbubbles practical where students built their own microbubble by optimizing different parameters to specifically target a disease in the body, making the best microbubble for the situation.  It was no easy task!

The overall feedback was extremely positive from the students, at the end of the session the team were told that, 'The students really enjoyed the session, in particular the session on microbubbles'.


First Prize!

5 December 2014

Congratulations to Laura McVeigh from the Leeds Microbubble Consortium who...

Congratulations to Laura McVeigh from the Leeds Microbubble Consortium who received first prize for her poster in the Research category, which was presented at the SHOWCASE 5th Annual University of Leeds Postgraduate Research Conference yesterday.

Laura's poster focused on  'Bubbles for Cancer: Improving the delivery of anti-cancer drugs using microbubbles'. There was a poster session as part of the conference which provided Laura with the chance to discuss her poster in further detail with other delegates.

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