Ultrasound-mediated targeted drug delivery in cancer patients – fact or fiction?

Author(s): Paul Lyon, Prateek Katti

Hospital: Institute of Biomedical Engineering, University of Oxford

Reference: RAD Magazine, 44, 518, 12-14


Despite considerable global investment towards prevention and improving outcomes, cancer remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide; as recently as 2010, only a modest decrease (-13.8%) in standardised death rates due to cancer have been observed since 1990. In 2009 cancer cost the European Union $126 billon in healthcare cost and productivity losses and in 2015 there were 8.8 million cancer-related deaths.

The chemotherapeutic war on cancer began in the mid-20th century with introduction of antifolates, such as methotrexate. As molecular mechanisms of cancer were further elucidated in the early 1990s, this led to an explosion of targeted chemotherapies and rapid growth of the now multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry that we are familiar with today. However, despite decades of academic and industry investment in pre-clinical and clinical chemotherapy research programmes, lung, colorectal and breast cancers each feature in the top ten causes of death globally in high income groups.

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