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Cavitation Enhanced Drug Delivery

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The hydrodynamic and mechanical effects produced by cavitation have been widely studied, with applications ranging from turbomachinery to tree growth. In the context of drug delivery these effects can be exploited to dramatically improve the degree to which treatment can be targeted to specific sites within the body. This talk will describe the ways in which specially designed cavitation nuclei in the form of solid, liquid or gas particles can be utilised to promote the controlled release and distribution of drug molecules for localized delivery in the treatment of diseases such as cancer and stroke. First, the particles provide a means of encapsulating drugs to avoid interaction with healthy tissue and/or deactivation before reaching the target site. Second, the particles can be functionalized to enable them to be targeted to a specific tissue volume in order to maximize the concentration of the drug. Third, the release of the drug can be controlled temporally and spatially by using focused ultrasound to initiate cavitation only within the tumour. Fourth, the fluid motion induced by the cavitation activity significantly enhances transport of the drug throughout the tissue volume compared to passive diffusion; and finally, the acoustic emissions from the cavitation bubbles can be used to monitor the treatment from outside the body. The talk will conclude with discussion of a specific example of how cavitation mediated delivery is being utilized in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

This talk is part of the Fluid Mechanics (CUED) series.

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