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New Invention Increases Carboplatin Efficacy

Researchers unveil ‘vortex fluidic device’

An Australian invention has been used to produce a four-fold increase in the efficacy of carboplatin, a drug commonly used in the treatment of ovarian, lung, and other cancers.

The new finding, published in Scientific Reports, is one of several applications for the so-called vortex fluidic device (VFD) invented by Professor Colin Raston of Flinders University in South Australia. The novel device is being manufactured at the university and will soon be available to research organizations around the world.

Raston said the VFD can be used in medical and pharmaceutical research. The device’s ability to control chemical processes has already enabled scientists to “unfold” proteins to their natural state in a process likened to “unboiling an egg,” which could be used in protein-based drug research.

 “With ovarian cancer, we found that this technology can increase the loading of second-generation anticancer carboplatin drugs into delivery vehicles from 17% to 75%,” Raston said. “This not only would have a direct benefit of reducing the negative side effects which affect patient health, but of being able to use less of the drug.”

Using more effective drugs would also reduce manufacturing waste, with up to half a ton of waste generated from the production of just 1 kilogram of anticancer and other drugs.

“Much of the drugs end up in sewerage systems and possibly create ‘superbugs’ in our environment,” Raston added.

“Our VFD will enable the pharmaceutical and many other industries to innovate –– including further improvements in the chemical delivery of a range of existing approved drugs, as well as the development of new, improved drugs,” he said.

Sources: Flinders University; May 22, 2015; and Scientific Reports; May 22, 2015.

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