Innovative drug filled nano-bubbles, able to be successfully triggered in the body by X-rays, have been developed by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) and Macquarie University researchers, paving the way for a new range of cancer treatments for patients.

The tiny bubbles, known as liposomes, are commonly used in pharmacology to encapsulate drugs, making them more effective in the treatment of disease. Liposomes are made out of a material similar to cell membranes and these ‘bubbles’, which are simple to prepare, can be filled with appropriate medications and then injected into specific parts of the body. The important issue, however, is in controlling the timely release of the drug from the liposome.

Research led by Dr Wei Deng, an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) recipient, has now been able to engineer these liposomes to discharge their drug cargo on-demand, following activation by standard X-rays.

Initial testing has shown this technique to be highly efficient in killing bowel cancer cells. The research team has ensured that liposomes release their drug pay-load at exactly the right time and in exactly the right place to ensure the most effective treatment.

The development and application of various nanomaterial designs for drug delivery is currently a key focus area in nanomedicine.

Image: CNBP researcher Dr Wei Deng is targeting cancer with her new advanced drug delivery approach.
Credit: Tony Crawshaw.