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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
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Study uses bubbles to battle cancer

By Carlos Mayorga

A group of U researchers has discovered a method to more effectively fight tumors by injecting them with tiny bubbles carrying cancer-fighting drugs.

Once injected, the tiny bubbles filled with the drug, doxorubicin, accumulate in the tumors, forming larger bubbles.

With the help of ultrasound technology, the bubbles serve a dual purpose. They release echoes, making it possible for scientists to image the tumor, and the energy from the ultrasound pops the bubbles, releasing the cancer drug.

The study, now into its third year, is featured in the July 10 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Prior to the unveiling of the new method, doctors could get cancer medicine inside tumors through small nanoparticles, but it was a tricky procedure because of the difficulty of imaging the tumor prior to treatment. The new procedure solves this problem, said Natalya Rapoport, professor of bioengineering.

“It’s a combination of imaging and therapy,” she said. “You can see where the drug is accumulating.”

The discovery has yet to go through human clinical trials, but the method has been successful on mice. The scientists found that the tiny bubbles were the most effective way to block tumor growth.

Although the new method has been successful in mice, scientists are in a continual research stage, which means their research on how the technique could be applied to humans is far from over, said Rapoport.

Rapoport hopes to begin using the procedure on people within three years.

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