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Deeper dive into microbubbles

Difficult to deliver

Professor Stephen Evans discusses new material properties.

Bubbles and your work
Bubble talk
Microbubbles summary

The University and its partner Epigem have created the first commercial chip-based microfluidic microbubbles generating machine in the world.

We’ve developed a method to deliver highly toxic drugs in small doses directly to tumours, where their toxicity can safely be put to good use. The technique could easily be adapted for other diseases.

Because a single dose of medicine requires 10 million microbubbles, it’s imperative that they be the same size, with a uniform amount of drug in each bubble. They also need to be produced quickly. 

The Leeds Microbubbble Consortium brings together engineers, physicists, chemists and cancer specialists from across the University to use novel therapeutics to treat colorectal cancer. Their work requires a wide range of expertise to come up with solutions to a complex challenge.

"By changing how we code the electrical excitation signal, we can verify how many bubbles are at the site to ensure we administer the right drug dose before we burst them."


microbubble infographic 2

Our interdisciplinary approach

Is it engineering? Chemistry? Biological sciences? Physics? Medicine? Together, Leeds academics work together to address some of the following complex science involved with harnessing these microscopic bubbles.

Big questions for little bubbles

  • How long can a bubbles last?
  • How flexible, small and strong should the bubbles be to travel through the body while dodging blood cells?
  • Would these rules change depending on the drug used?

Is dish soap out of the question?

  • What should a bubble shell be made of?
  • Can we use only ingredients that are already regulated?
  • What should be in the shell to prevent the body from reacting to it?
  • How weak should the shell be to be burst by ultrasound waves?

How do bubbles know where to go?

  • Is it worth using magnets, like other researchers do?
  • What antibodies will recognise and be attracted to cancer cells?
  • Because an antibody is a large molecule, how do we isolate and use only the part that recognizes a cancer cell?
  • Could we copy this procedure with antibodies for other conditions?

Tiny bubbles make me feel fine

  • How much smaller should the dosage be if a drug is delivered straight to a tumour?
  • How much of the drug won’t go into the tumour?
  • How many bubbles are needed for this amount?
  • Are there any side effects with this sort of delivery?


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