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Cancer research work by University of Leeds experts moves into vital new phase

Prof Stephen Evans.
Prof Stephen Evans.
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A research project that aims to revolutionise the way cancer is treated has taken a significant step forward.

As previously reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, experts at the University of Leeds and Leeds’s two main hospitals have been studying how so-called ‘microbubbles’ could be used to fight the disease.

The Leeds scientists have already developed two pieces of microbubble technology – and now they have teamed up with Medicines Discovery Catapult for the latest stage of the project.

Operating from laboratories at Alderley Park in Cheshire, Medicines Discovery Catapult is a Government-backed national centre of excellence in the field of drug research.

The three-year collaboration will establish whether microbubbles – which are one thousandth of a millimetre in diameter – are a viable method of delivering cancer treatment in humans.

It is hoped that injecting microbubbles filled with drugs into a patient’s bloodstream could spare them the harrowing side-effects normally associated with chemotherapy.

One of the machines developed in Leeds can produce a billion microbubbles in the space of a few minutes.

The other machine devised by the Leeds team would use ultrasound to burst the bubbles remotely in the bloodstream.

The University of Leeds’s Prof Stephen Evans said: “This collaboration will take existing research to the next stage and aims to validate the technology on a range of drug molecules, developing it to a stage suitable for future consideration in humans.”

Dr Peter Simpson, chief scientific officer at Medicines Discovery Catapult, said: “[We are] here to help translate the best new technology and innovations – like microbubbles – into groundbreaking products.

“Our industry expertise and research rigour mean we’re expertly placed to support world class academic endeavour, in this case with our partners at the University of Leeds.”