New drug delivery systems can revolutionize patient care. Current drug delivery methods are effective, but a bit haphazard and hopeful, marking them determinately inefficient. With all things related to healthcare, finding a way to improve drug delivery is a priority and hence, we have a new system for delivery before us.
Let’s take a moment to refresh your memory on our current state of drug delivery affairs.
What is the drug delivery system?
A drug delivery system is a process through which a physician administers a pharmaceutical compound into a human (or animal) for the desired health outcome.
How do current systems deliver drugs?
Current systems deliver drugs utilizing nasal and pulmonary routes for drugs to enter the bloodstream and circulate the body, to treat the disease or source of infection once encountered. This system is not optimal because as the drugs search for the disease, they fatigue or interrupt other bodily systems.
A new method allows for precise delivery
A new method developed by researchers at James McKelvey School of Engineering and the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis allows precise accuracy and is opening the doors to acute drug delivery by utilizing ultrasound and a contrast agent, microbubbles, which can travel across the blood-brain barrier. The new method is coined cavitation dose painting, and it works by combining the two impressive imaging processes.
PET imaging meets ultrasound imaging
In efforts to gain the desired result accuracy, researchers combined PET imaging with PCI imaging to follow where the drug was going and how much was there.
Here’s how it works:
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
PET imaging watches microbubbles expand and contract with an ultrasound image to track drug particles in the body.
- Passive Cavitation Imagine (PCI)
PCI involves ultrasound imaging that monitors the amount of microbubbles in the ultrasound field. The PCI can accurately determine the amount of drugs at an acute location in the body by overlaying it with the PET image.
Using both imaging processes creates an accurate (and affordable) solution. The ultrasound and PET image show a pixel correlation that allows a physician to see (or at least predict) where a drug goes and how much of it remains concentrated in an area.
This ability to localize drug delivery will completely change the safety and effectiveness of patient treatment through medication in the best way possible.
Why is localized delivery so powerful?
The new delivery method also grants physicians the ability to send a drug to a localized area of the body; the most obvious example here is targeting a tumor instead of blasting a patient’s entire body and immune system with an army of powerful (and typically debilitating) drugs. Additionally, a physician can know when too much or too little drug is activated.
Setbacks are fewer than financial encouragements
Expenses and possible radioactive exposure stand in the way of cavitation dose painting, but funding ($1.6 million in grants so far) continues to promote the research and development of the new delivery system pioneered by Hong Chen and her research team at McKelvey School of Engineering and School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis.
Still interested in the new drug delivery technique? If you want to learn more about the new drug delivery system and its creators, read further on Science Daily.
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