Page 10 - PERIODIC 2017
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N      ew Research continued

              Nicky Farrer                                     inactive, but upon treatment with ultrasound they are
                                                               destroyed and readily release the drug. A focussed beam
              Metal-based systems for
              targeted drug delivery                           of ultrasound in a cancerous region will release and
                                                               catapult the platinum (IV) compound deep into the tumour,
                                                               where they are reduced to the active platinum (II) form.
              Dr Farrer’s multi-disciplinary*                  Ultrasound is a promising technique for drug delivery as it
              research aims to develop metal-                  can be highly focused, meaning drugs will only be released
              based systems that respond to                    and taken up by specific, targeted, cancerous cells. It is
              ultrasound for targeted drug                     envisaged that lower drug doses will be required, resulting
              delivery of anti-cancer drugs, for               in less undelivered drug in the body and reduced side-
              improved quality and length of life of cancer patients.     effects of the treatment. Ultrasound can also penetrate
              Platinum (II) compounds are well-established, highly   deeply into the body meaning that a number of different
              effective anti-cancer agents, found in around 50% of   cancers can be accessed.
              chemotherapy treatments. Platinum compounds kill   *Dr Farrer is collaborating with researchers in the
              cells by binding to DNA which stops aggressive tumours   Department of Chemistry and the Institute of Biomedical
              from developing. However, without targeted delivery   Engineering, University of Oxford.
              mechanisms, they will also attack healthy cells, leading to
              severe side-effects such as nausea and permanent kidney
              Dr Farrer is designing new platinum
              (IV) drugs that are less toxic in the
              bloodstream than traditional platinum
              (II) drugs. The drugs are encapsulated
              inside liposomes (vesicles made of
              lipid bilayers) and attached to a larger
              gas-filled bubble, making a drug
              delivery vehicle (approximately the
              size of a red blood cell). The drug
              delivery vehicles are being designed
              to respond to external stimuli: in the
              absence of ultrasound they remain


              Periodic       The Magazine of the Department of Chemistry
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