Lady Margaret Hall
CDT Postgraduate Studentship in Healthcare Innovation (RCUK Digital Economy Programme grant number EP/G036861/1)
Strategies for Enhancing the Efficacy of Sonothrombolysis using Magnetic Microbubbles
Stroke is the third most common cause of death in developed countries and kills or disables 10 million people per annum. The majority of stokes are ischaemic in nature, caused by a blood clot in the brain. Thrombolytic drugs such as t-PA are the only approved treatment for ischaemic stroke, but must be administered within a few hours of onset and risk serious side effects; as such, 95% of patients do not receive any treatment.
Ultrasound and microbubbles have both been shown to enhance the effect of thrombolytic drugs. However, early results of in vivo and clinical trials have been disappointing, and found to pose considerable risk for the patient. Improved understanding of the mechanisms of ultrasound and microbubble-enhanced thrombolysis is required to devise safe and effective treatment regimes. In addition, improved targeting of treatment is necessary to reduce side effects, increase eligibility and improve outcomes. In particular, biophysical targeting methods such as the use of magnetically-targeted microbubbles may be used to increase the selectivity of treatment and further improve ultrasound-enhanced thrombolysis.