With traditional chemotherapy typically only 0.001-0.01% of the injected dose reaches the tumor. The remaining drug leads to severe side effect on healthy cells and tissue. Focused ultrasound applied directly at the tumor in combination with intravenous injections of tiny gas bubbles has been shown to increase the transport of drugs locally to the tumor by forming small pores in the blood vessels surrounding the tumor. However, commercially available gas bubbles are optimized for ultrasound imaging, and are fragile and unstable in blood. There is a clear need for a novel drug delivery system based on stable gas bubbles specifically designed for ultrasound-mediated drug delivery applications. Currently, there are no such products on the market. The main goal of BubbleCAN is to optimize such a product towards commercialization. The uniqueness of the BubbleCAN product is its simplicity and versatility, combining drug-loaded nanoparticles and bubbles in one single construct.
The aim of the BubbleCan project is to make long-circulating drug-loaded bubbles to be used in cancer treatment. Nanoparticles loaded with anti-cancer agents will be used to form a shell around gas bubbles. The nanoparticle-stabilized bubbles are injected into the blood stream. When they enter the tumor site, the ultrasound waves applied at the tumor lead to bubble collapse, formation of small pores in the blood vessels, and release of individual nanoparticles. The drug-loaded nanoparticles accumulate in tumor tissue and slowly release the drug. The BubbleCAN product is relevant for tumors that are not effectively treated using existing chemotherapeutic technology, e.g. inoperable solid tumors and brain tumors.
BubbleCAN is an optimization project financed by the Research Council of Norway via the joint call within the BIOTEK2021 and FORNY programs. The project is owned by SINTEF TTO and implemented in close collaboration with SINTEF Materials and Chemistry and SINTEF Technology and Society.