Staff Achievement
Dr Ken Leung Cham-fai develops new nanoshell-based composite for hepatic tumour chemoembolization surgery and magnetic resonance imaging
Dr. Ken Leung says that the new hybrid composite enables a one-time and dose-control therapeutic advantage
Dr Ken Leung together with experts from the radiology departments of The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Central South University of China, developed a novel self-assembled composite which enables intra-arterial embolisation of liver tumour blood vessels followed by slow and sustained drug release of anticancer drug which offers a therapeutic advantage. The results can be applied to increase the efficacy of transcatheter hepatic arterial chemoembolisation and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). 
The composite contains anticancer drug-encapsulated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoshell and poly(vinyl alcohol). Due to the magnetic properties of the superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoshell composite, it is able to produce an enhanced dark contrast (an excellent contrast agent) in magnetic resonance imaging. The composite is also able to produce a slow and sustained drug release, enabling a one-time and dose-control release of drug to cells. 
In the study, experiments conducted on rabbits showed that the composites were delivered through a catheter to embolise the arteries supplying blood to the liver tumours of rabbits. The embolised composites were slowly disintegrated, releasing the nanoshell with an anticancer drug. After four  days of chemoembolisation, the tumour showed necrosis and that the histology showed healthier liver tissues. 
Dr Leung said, “The composite was found to be non-cytotoxic and did not affect other organ sites or blood in vivo. The findings in the study also showed that this is an advantage for one-time minimally invasive surgical and dose-control therapeutic purpose from which personalised medicine can be developed. The use of this novel composite may reduce metastasis from liver malignancy.” The use of this novel composite may reduce metastasis from liver malignancy. The metabolism and excretion of the composite could be further confirmed by monitoring the concentration and location of the nanoshells with magnetic resonance imaging.
The research study titled “In vivo liver cancer chemoembolisation and magnetic resonance imaging using iron oxide nanoshell/doxorubicin/poly(vinyl alcohol) hybrid composites” was published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition. Vol. 53 (2014). The paper was selected as a “Very Important Paper” by the editors of the journal.

from HKBU eNews