Philips is working on some fancy new drug deliver technologies that utilize microbubbles in a new way. Traditionally, microbubbles are used to enhance the resolution of ultrasound images, but Philips’ research will provide a one-two punch for imaging and targeted drug delivery.
From the SonoDrug press release:
The drug delivery technology being developed in the SonoDrugs project will utilize drug-loaded particles, typically between 100 nm and 2000 nm in diameter that are designed to carry drugs to the site of disease via the bloodstream. It is known that at these very small diameters the particles are easily transported by normal blood flow through the finest capillaries in the vascular system and can therefore penetrate deep into diseased tissues. The drug payload will be inside the particles or attached to the shell.
Arrival of the particles at the disease site is detected using the real-time medical imaging techniques Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or ultrasound. The drug is then locally released from the particles by subjecting them to focused ultrasound pulses. For this purpose, the SonoDrugs project will aim to develop two different types of particle.
I quote xkcd when I say “Science. It works, bitches!”