Unique drug delivery method could transform experience of cancer patients

Unique drug delivery method could transform experience of cancer patients

January 16th, 2012

A unique method of delivering chemotherapy which could transform the way cancer patients receive their treatment is being investigated by scientists at the University of Bradford.

The project, funded by a £184,612 grant from Yorkshire Cancer Research, will test whether a drug that is taken by the mouth and distributes effectively around the body could act as a 'carrier' for established chemotherapeutics.

Having chemotherapy can be a slow and inconvenient process for patients because the drugs struggle to find their way into the tumour and are often delivered into a vein using a drip over several hours - but one particular drug is a notable exception.

Drs Richard Wheelhouse of the School of Pharmacy and Roger Phillips from the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics, leading the study, will adapt a part of the drug's chemical structure to make a new 'carrier molecule', which will then be attached to other established drugs to make the act of taking them a quicker, more convenient and less distressing process.

Dr Wheelhouse said: "The successful outcome of this work could allow many drugs currently given by injection or drip to be given orally through tablets or capsules. This may be done either at home or during a brief outpatient visit, so reducing inconvenience, time spent visiting hospital and distress to patients.

"There are also other potential benefits of the new technology. It may reduce side-effects by better tumour targeting of the drugs. It may overcome biochemical mechanisms by which tumours resist chemotherapy. These would make chemotherapy more effective, thus extending and improving the quality of life for patients."

Yorkshire Cancer Research is committed to funding £6m of world-class cancer research, treatment and diagnosis throughout the region every year with the aim of slashing current statistics that show 259 people die every week from cancer in Yorkshire alone.