Professor Sylvain Martel, director of the Nanorobotics Laboratory at Polytechnique at Montreal and his team of researchers has used a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) platform, to lead microcarriers filled with a dose of anti-cancer medication into the bloodstream of a living rabbit to a specified spot in the liver, where it was administered.
This will help physicians enhance chemoembolization, a treatment now in use for liver cancer.
The therapeutic magnetic microcarriers (TMMCs) were designed by Pierre Pouponneau, a post doctoral student under supervision from Professors Jean-Christophe Leroux and Martel. The nano agents, fabricated from biodegradable polymer had a diameter of 50 micrometers hold a therapeutic agent such as doxorubicin and magnetic nanoparticles. The nanoparticles are actually nanomagnets and let the enhanced MRI system lead the microcarriers through the blood vessels to the specified organ. The medication injected into the bloodstream was passed through the hepatic artery to the part of the liver where it was released in stages. The results of these in-vivo trials were recently published in the journal Biomaterials. A patent for this technology has recently been issued in the US.
The laboratory works in close collaboration with Dr. Gilles Soulez and his team of the Imaging Research Platform. Dr. Soulez is an interventional radiologist at the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal Research Centre. He develops medical protocols that are adaptable for future use in humans.
The trials received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Canada Research Chair (CRC), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies (FQRNT) and the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ).