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New EU-project to improve drugs' efficiency and minimize side effects
SonoDrugs project is developing image-guided localized drug delivery technologies that could change the way treatment for cancer and cardiovascular disease is delivered.
Although powerful drugs are available to treat certain types of cancer and cardiovascular disease they are mostly administered as intravenous or oral doses. This allows only very limited control over the distribution of drugs in the body, which can circulate in the patient’s bloodstream and interact with many different tissues and organs, both diseased and healthy.
The SonoDrugs project aims to address this challenge by developing drug delivery vehicles that can be tracked by ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and triggered by ultrasound to release the drugs at the desired location. Such control of the drug delivery process would increase therapeutic efficiency and minimize side effects, while also providing a means of tailoring the therapy to individual patients.
The project has a two-pronged approach: the first is based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guidance and the second on ultrasound guidance. The MRI-guided drug delivery will focus on cancer treatments.
The SonoDrugs project is a partnership between 15 European Union-based industrial partners, university medical centers, and academic institutions. It will run for four years and has a budget of €15.9 million, €10.9 million of which is funded under the EU's 7th Framework program.
Members of the SonoDrugs consortium:
- The industrial partners Philips (The Netherlands, Germany and Finland), Nanobiotix (France) and Lipoid (Germany).
- The university medical centers Erasmus Medical Center (The Netherlands) and Universitäts Klinikum Münster (Germany).
- The academic institutions University of Cyprus (Cyprus), University of Gent (Belgium), University of Helsinki (Finland), University of London (United Kingdom), University of Tours (France), University Victor Segalen Bordeaux (France), University of Technology Eindhoven (The Netherlands) and the University of Udine (Italy).
Text: Päivi Lehtinen