Microbubbles as targeted drug delivery vehicles
Microbubbles are micron-sized, inert gas cores stabilised by a biocompatible surfactant in an aqueous dispersion. Introduced into the blood stream via intravenous injection, they react with ultrasonic waves to create very specific signals. This improves the contrast between tissue and the surroundings, effectively “lighting up” the blood in an ultrasonic image. More recently, microbubbles have been shown to be a promising targeted drug delivery vehicle. Drugs could be loaded onto a microbubble surface and upon reaching a specific site for drug delivery, the microbubbles could be popped to release drugs only at that particular site. This method of targeted drug delivery is of particular interest in cancer therapeutics as undesirable side effects could be minimised by only targeting cancerous cells and leaving healthy cells intact during chemotherapy. In this project, you will learn how to create, handle and characterise microbubbles using a variety of analytical methods, namely optical microscopy and ultraviolet spectroscopy. Once proficient in handling and characterising microbubbles, you will investigate methods of loading drugs onto microbubbles via adsorption to microbubble surface. Permeation studies will also be carried out in order to determine efficacy of microbubble-drug permeability.
Application invited for: MSc