Cancer can be a tricky foe, so the best way to fight it might not be with a direct attack, but to cut off its supply lines. One such method, known as gas embolotherapy, involves creating tiny bubbles in the tumor blood vessels, which block the blood supply and starve the cancer out. Now, researchers from China and France have found that the technique could also deal a second blow as a drug delivery system.
The first step of gas embolotherapy involves researchers injecting droplets of a liquid into the blood vessels that feed a tumor. When an ultrasonic pulse is applied to the area, those droplets form tiny gas bubbles that clog up the vessels, blocking blood flow and suffocating the tumor. This part of the process is called acoustic droplet vaporization (ADV).
In past research, this process turned out to be more effective than was expected. Not only did the bubbles successfully cut off the blood supply, but other bubbles made their way into smaller vessels like capillaries, causing them to burst and leak, which dealt even more damage to the tumor.