THE FANTASTIC VOYAGE CONTINUES! – World first for Professor Sylvain Martel’s team: localized delivery of an anti-cancer drug by remote-controlled microcarriers

March 16, 2011

MONTREAL, March 16 /PRNewswire/ – Soon, drug delivery that precisely
targets cancerous cells without exposing the healthy surrounding tissue
to the medication’s toxic effects will no longer be an oncologist’s
dream but a medical reality, thanks to the work of Professor Sylvain
Martel, Director of the Nanorobotics Laboratory at Polytechnique

Known for being the world’s first researcher to have guided a magnetic
sphere through a living artery, Professor Martel is announcing a
spectacular new breakthrough in the field of nanomedicine. Using a
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system, his team successfully guided
microcarriers loaded with a dose of anti-cancer drug through the
bloodstream of a living rabbit, right up to a targeted area in the
liver, where the drug was successfully administered. This is a medical
first that will help improve chemoembolization, a current treatment for
liver cancer.

Microcarriers on a mission
The therapeutic magnetic microcarriers (TMMCs) were developed by Pierre
Pouponneau, a PhD candidate under the joint direction of Professors
Jean-Christophe Leroux and Martel. These tiny drug-delivery agents,
made from biodegradable polymer and measuring 50 micrometers in
diameter — just under the breadth of a hair — encapsulate a dose of a
therapeutic agent (in this case, doxorubicin) as well as magnetic
nanoparticles. Essentially tiny magnets, the nanoparticles are what
allow the upgraded MRI system to guide the microcarriers through the
blood vessels to the targeted organ. During the experiments, the TMMCs
injected into the bloodstream were guided through the hepatic artery to
the targeted part of the liver where the drug was progressively
released. The results of these in-vivo experiments have recently been
published in the prestigious journal Biomaterials and the patent
describing this technology has just been issued in the United States.

The Nanorobotics Laboratory, which aims to develop new platforms for
medical intervention, works closely with interventional radiologist Dr.
Gilles Soulez and his team of the Imaging Research Platform at the
Centre hospitalier de l’Universit© de Montr©al Research Centre to
develop medical protocols adapted for future use on humans.

Dr. Martel and his team receive financial support 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 qu©b©cois de
la recherche sur la nature et les technologies (FQRNT) and the Fonds de
la recherche en sant© du Qu©bec (FRSQ).

About Polytechnique Montr©al
Founded in 1873, Polytechnique Montr©al is one of Canada’s leading
engineering university institutions in terms of both teaching and
research. It is also the largest engineering university in Qu©bec for
the size of its student body and the scope of its research activities.
With over 37,000 graduates, Polytechnique Montr©al has trained nearly
30% of the current members of the Ordre des ing©nieurs du Qu©bec.
Polytechnique provides training in 14 engineering specialties, has 230
professors and over 6,700 students. It has an annual operating budget
of more than $100 million, in addition to a $70-million research fund.

RÓ°FÓ°RENCE : Pouponneau, P., Leroux, J.-C., Soulez, G., Gaboury, L. and
Martel, S. (2011). Co-encapsulation of magnetic nanoparticles and
doxorubicin into biodegradable microcarriers for deep tissue targeting
by vascular MRI navigation. Biomaterials. Volume 32, Issue 13, May 2011, Pages 3481-3486. (DOI:

Photos of Dr. Martel and images of the in-vivo course taken by the
microcarriers available on request.

Polytechnique Montr©al’s Nanorobotics Laboratory: www.nano.polymtl.ca/

March 16, 2007, Fantastic Voyage: from Science Fiction to Reality? http://www.polymtl.ca/carrefour/en/article.php?no=2502


Source: newswire

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