U.K. team creates method for testing cancer drug-laden polymer beads

Researchers Tania Swaine and Dr. Laura Waters. Photo courtesy of U. of Huddersfield.

A common drug delivery method for liver cancer is to inject drug-laden polymer beads into arteries surrounding a tumor, cutting off blood supply to the area and allowing the drugs access to where they will do the most damage. And now, researchers in the U.K. have developed a technique to predict the results if either the beads, the drugs or both are modified, possibly leading to better outcomes down the road.

The scientists from the University of Huddersfield created a simulation technique that pumped a blood-mimicking liquid through the polymer beads at different rates, giving researchers a tool to gauge new types of materials. They could also load these beads with drugs and test different kinds and quantities, comparing them to in vivo data along the way.

By creating a simulation, the team has enabled more accurate predictions with less risk.

“There was no lab mimic that was able to adequately predict how the drug was released from these drug-eluting beads once they were in the body,” said co-author Laura Waters of the university. “The article describes a way of doing it in the lab. We compared our results with in vivo data and proved that the method worked.”

The researchers published their work in the European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.