Implanted Fibres for Targeted Drug Release

Dr Semali Perera and some fibres

These fibres are bio-degradable and compatible with body tissue, which means they would not be rejected by the patient’s body. They gradually turn from solid to liquid, releasing a regular flow of the chemotherapy chemical into the cancer site, and a much lower dose to the rest of the body. This is a more localised way of killing cancer cells than the current method of injecting the chemical into a cancer sufferer’s vein so that it is carried around the body.

As well as reducing the side-effects, the new drug delivery vehicle, known as Fibrasorb, could also cut the numbers of patients who die from the effects of chemotherapy because they need such high doses to tackle their cancer.

The method, developed by Dr Semali Perera, of the University of Bath's Department of Chemical Engineering, has successfully gone through preliminary laboratory trials. The first clinical trials on volunteer patients with ovarian cancer in Avon, Somerset and Wiltshire could begin in the next few years and, if successful, the technology could be put into general use.

“Side effects from chemotherapy can be very unpleasant and sometimes fatal,” said Dr Perera. “The new fibres and beads could cut out some side-effects entirely, including nausea and vomiting, and could reduce the number of people who die each year.”

The Fibrasorb technology is a flexible fully resorbable device that can be formulated as a bead, a fibre or mesh, or as a tube put into the body which leads outside the body and through which drugs can be fed.

Dr Perera said that other researchers had worked on using tiny beads as a way of delivering drugs locally, but the new system showed greater promise because it could achieve better control when delivering the drug.; Source: University of Bath