The Fantastic Voyage Continues!

By cole Polytechnique De Montral, PRNE
Thursday, March 24, 2011

World First for Professor Sylvain Martel's Team: Localized Delivery of an Anti-cancer Drug by Remote-controlled Microcarriers

MONTREAL, March 25, 2011 - Soon, drug delivery that precisely targets cancerous cells
without exposing the healthy surrounding tissue to the medication's toxic
effects will no longer be an oncologist's dream but a medical reality, thanks
to the work of Professor Sylvain Martel, Director of the Nanorobotics
Laboratory at Polytechnique Montréal.

Known for being the world's first researcher to have guided a
magnetic sphere through a living artery, Professor Martel is announcing a
spectacular new breakthrough in the field of nanomedicine. Using a magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) system, his team successfully guided microcarriers
loaded with a dose of anti-cancer drug through the bloodstream of a living
rabbit, right up to a targeted area in the liver, where the drug was
successfully administered. This is a medical first that will help improve
chemoembolization, a current treatment for liver cancer.

Microcarriers on a mission

The therapeutic magnetic microcarriers (TMMCs) were developed
by Pierre Pouponneau, a PhD candidate under the joint direction of Professors
Jean-Christophe Leroux and Martel. These tiny drug-delivery agents, made from
biodegradable polymer and measuring 50 micrometers in diameter - just under
the breadth of a hair - encapsulate a dose of a therapeutic agent (in this
case, doxorubicin) as well as magnetic nanoparticles. Essentially tiny
magnets, the nanoparticles are what allow the upgraded MRI system to guide
the microcarriers through the blood vessels to the targeted organ. During the
experiments, the TMMCs injected into the bloodstream were guided through the
hepatic artery to the targeted part of the liver where the drug was
progressively released. The results of these in-vivo experiments have
recently been published in the prestigious journal Biomaterials and the
patent describing this technology has just been issued in the United States.

The Nanorobotics Laboratory, which aims to develop new
platforms for medical intervention, works closely with interventional
radiologist Dr. Gilles Soulez and his team of the Imaging Research Platform
at the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal Research Centre to
develop medical protocols adapted for future use on humans.

Dr. Martel and his team receive financial support from the
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Canada Research Chair
(CRC), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Natural Sciences and
Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Fonds québécois de la
recherche sur la nature et les technologies (FQRNT) and the Fonds de la
recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ).

About Polytechnique Montréal

Founded in 1873, Polytechnique Montréal is one of Canada's
leading engineering university institutions in terms of both teaching and
research. It is also the largest engineering university in Québec for the
size of its student body and the scope of its research activities. With over
37,000 graduates, Polytechnique Montréal has trained nearly 30% of the
current members of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec. Polytechnique provides
training in 14 engineering specialties, has 230 professors and over 6,700
students. It has an annual operating budget of more than $100 million, in
addition to a $70-million research fund.

REFERENCE : Pouponneau, P., Leroux, J.-C., Soulez, G., Gaboury, L. and
Martel, S. (2011). Co-encapsulation of magnetic nanoparticles and doxorubicin
into biodegradable microcarriers for deep tissue targeting by vascular MRI
navigation. Biomaterials. Volume 32, Issue 13, May 2011, Pages 3481-3486.
(DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.12.059)

Photos of Dr. Martel and images of the in-vivo course taken by
the microcarriers available on request.

Polytechnique Montréal's Nanorobotics Laboratory:

March 16, 2007, Fantastic Voyage: from Science Fiction to Reality?

    Annie Touchette
    Communications and recruitment department
    Polytechnique Montréal
    +1-514-340-4711, ext. 4415, or +1-514-231-8133

    Media information: Andrée Peltier,
    Relations publiques Andrée Peltier
    +1-514-846-0003 - +1-514-944-8689

Annie Touchette, Communications and recruitment department, Polytechnique Montréal, +1-514-340-4711, ext. 4415, or +1-514-231-8133; Media information: Andrée Peltier, apeltier at, Relations publiques Andrée Peltier, +1-514-846-0003 - +1-514-944-8689

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