Israeli researchers have developed new technology that destroys cancerous tumours.
The research team at Tel Aviv University used a method of targeting tumours by using a combination of ultrasound and the injection of nano-bubbles into the bloodstream.
“Our new technology makes it possible, in a relatively simple way, to inject nano-bubbles into the bloodstream, which then congregate in the area of the cancerous tumour. After that, using a low-frequency ultrasound, we explode the nano-bubbles, and thereby the tumour,” Dr. Tali Ilovitsh at Tel Aviv University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering said.
Dr. Ilovitsh explained that the the combination of nano-bubbles and low frequency ultrasound waves provides a more specific targeting of the area of the tumour, and reduces off-target toxicity.
“Applying the low frequency to the nano-bubbles causes their extreme swelling and explosion, even at low pressures. This makes it possible to perform the mechanical destruction of the tumours at low-pressure thresholds.”
The research team said their method is safe, cost-effective, and clinically available.
Dr. Ilovitsh said that the use of low-frequency ultrasound also increases the depth of penetration, minimises distortion and attenuation, and enlarges the focal point.
“This can help in the treatment of tumours that are located deep with the body, and in addition facilitate the treatment of larger tumour volumes. The experiment was conducted in a breast cancer tumour mouse model, but it is likely that the treatment will also be effective with other types of tumours, and in the future, also in humans,” elaborated.
Keren Primor Cohen, CEO of Ramot, Tel Aviv University’s technology transfer company, said that it had applied for “several patents to protect this technology and its application.”
“We believe in the commercial potential of this breakthrough technology in cancer treatment, and we are in contact with several leading companies in Israel and abroad to promote it,” Cohen said.
The study was conducted under the leadership of doctoral student Mike Bismuth from the lab of Dr. Tali Ilovitsh at Tel Aviv University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, in collaboration with Dr. Dov Hershkovitz of the Department of Pathology.
Prof. Agata Exner from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland also participated in the study. The study was published in the journal Nanoscale.
Israeli firm says micro-pancreas to ‘cure’ diabetes ready for UK trials
Exclusive: hopes testing can begin on product intended to free people of need for insulin injections
An Israeli company claiming to have created a tiny micro-pancreas that can “cure” diabetes for millions of people has said it will submit a request next month for human clinical trials in the UK.
Betalin Therapeutics said its “bio-artificial” pancreas aims to free patients of the need for insulin injections and blood sugar monitoring. It is designed for people with type 1 diabetes, and those with type 2 diabetes who require insulin.
The Jerusalem-based firm told the Guardian it would provide a plan for clinical trials to Britain’s regulatory agency in August. Betalin aims to begin human testing early next year, with the hope of delivering to the market by 2024.
Central to the innovation is a biological scaffold, adapted from pig lung tissue, that holds beta cells. Those cells release insulin based on the patient’s blood sugar levels. The miniature artificial pancreas, just visible to the naked eye, is implanted under the skin on the thigh using local anaesthesia.
“Our unique technology allows the body to heal itself,” said Nikolai Kunicher, the chief executive of Betalin. “For now, the focus is on diabetes, but there are many more diseases that we intend to cure with the aid of this technology.”
More than 460 million people live with diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Federation, although not all have been diagnosed. A 2016 study by the World Health Organization found the metabolic disorder was the seventh most common cause of death, above road injury.
Betalin’s technology was developed by Prof Eduardo Mitrani of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Life Sciences.
The company said it chose to conduct tests in Britain because the country had already approved another diabetes treatment, called the Edmonton Protocol, in which beta cells are implanted on the liver. But Betalin said its micro-pancreas would be more robust, longer-lasting, and cheaper, although its still likely to coast more than $40,000 (£31,000).
Trials are planned in several hospitals affiliated with the Leeds and Newcastle universities, with Omar Masood, a UK transplant surgeon with experience in combatting diabetes, directing the project.
“This has the potential to affect up to 400,000 people in the UK,” he said.
It has received grants amounting to about £4.5m from the EU and raised more than £6m from Chinese, US and Israeli investors.
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November 25 (GMT)
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