Good news for the ground-breaking research of biomedical engineer Professor Eleanor Stride and the team at the University of Oxford; they have secured funding from the CRUK–EPSRC Multidisciplinary Project Award to unlock exciting new approaches to chemotherapy and radiotherapy using ultrasound
You might remember our Born to Engineer film on the work of Professor Eleanor Stride?
The team at Oxford (which includes clinical oncologist Dr Anne Kiltie, biomedical engineer Professor Eleanor Stride and biophysicist Professor Boris Vojnovic) have found that the close proximity of their departments has enabled them to identify real-world clinical challenges. It is their hope that by combining their expertise they will be able to tackle the issues they have identified.
Eleanor explained that the multidisciplinary environment provides the catalyst for the project; “We’re extremely fortunate to be working in a building where different types of scientists share the same facilities. Our project came about as the result of a conversation over coffee about using advanced fluorescence microscopy to characterise microbubbles.”
Bringing together medicine, biology, chemistry, physics and engineering
The goal is to explore ways to improve the effectiveness of chemoradiation in bladder cancer. Their technique helps minimise the toxic effects produced when radiotherapy and chemotherapy are used at the same time.
The technique they have developed allows them to target chemotherapy drugs by encapsulating them in microbubbles. These ‘bubbles’ can be delivered by injection or circulation in the bloodstream and released when the team use high-intensity ultrasound waves to burst the bubbles near the tumour
The drugs themselves will enhance the effects of radiotherapy. The problem up to now is that current techniques for targeting radiotherapy have relied on a computerised imaging system that had a very limited resolution.
The team’s combined expertise will be used to pioneer a new three-dimensional ultrasound which they will use to not only guide the radiotherapy but simultaneously control the microbubble drug delivery.
The challenge is complex – and it is only by integrating all the skills and expertise of the team that they can hope to succeed. Professor Stride explains that it simply “wouldn’t be possible without having the right combination of medicine, biology, chemistry, physics and engineering, so everyone on the team has a really important part to play”.
Watch Professor’s Stride Born to Engineer film at borntoengineer.com
For more information on Professor’s Stride research please visit eng.ox.ac.uk