EU funds imaging targeted drug delivery R&D

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

The EU has backed a €15.9m ($20.4m) research collaboration that will seek to develop drug delivery vehicles that can be tracked through the body with MRI and triggered using ultrasound.

Royal Philips Electronics is to head the team which consists of fifteen companies and academic institutions with expertise in the area. Philips is already involved in this area using its drug loaded microbubbles and entering into a partnership with Celsion.

The company will now team up with others to further the technology, which has the potential to deliver therapeutics in a highly targeted and controlled way.

Laurent Lévy, Co-President of the French Technology Platform on Nanotechnology, said: “We intend that the side effects of chemotherapeutic drugs and those for cardiovascular disease will be diminished, since targeted delivery will significantly alter biodistribution and also will lower the amount of drugs that are needed for treatment​.”

The programme is due to run for four years, with researchers expecting the first nanocarriers to be developed within nine months. It is hoped that further research will result in the development of drug-loaded nanocarriers within 15 months.

This technology could have applications in treating cancer and cardiovascular. Despite the considerable challenges in formulating the nanocarriers the newly formed team is optimistic.

Henk van Houten, head of Philips' healthcare research programme, said: "The wide-ranging expertise that has been brought together in the SonoDrugs project puts us in a strong position to ultimately deliver the benefits of image-guided drug delivery to patients and care providers​."

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