Researchers from the University of Huddersfield developed a method to predict how drug-eluting polymer beads can affect the body if they are modified. The UK team of researchers published their work in the European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Polymer beads are frequently used in cases of liver cancer, where they’re injected into a patient’s arteries to block blood flow and effectively cut off the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the tumor. The beads release an anti-cancer drug locally, which reduces the systemic side effects of the treatment.
“There was no lab mimic that was able to adequately predict how the drug was released from these drug-eluting beads once they were in the body,” co-author Dr. Laura Waters said in prepared remarks. “The article describes a way of doing it in the lab. We compared our results with in vivo data and proved that the method worked.”
The team pumped a liquid that mimics blood at varying rates through the beads and ran experiments modifying the amount of drug in the beads. Comparing their laboratory results with in vivo data, the group could validate its simulation technique. The group predicts that this technique could be used as a tool to test different bead materials, as well as different kinds of drugs and loading characteristics. It could provide a way to make predictions about drug-eluting beads without incurring a lot of risk.
“We are continually innovating our drug-eluting bead technologies to introduce new features, such as X-ray visibility or biodegradability. It’s important from a product development perspective that if we wanted to put other drugs into the beads, or change anything about their chemistry, we could use this system to predict product behaviour before it is given to people,” Andy Lewis, director of R&D at BTG and industrial supervisor in its collaboration with the University of Huddersfield, added.