The Rosalind Franklin Institute (RFI) announced its first project to develop an advanced real-time, high-speed video camera for imaging tissue with more sensitivity and higher resolution. It may provide key insights on new techniques that use light and sound used to treat cancer.
The video camera will be developed by an academic team at the University of Oxford and a UK-SME specialized in high-speed imaging, Invisible Vision. When finished, the new Rosalind Franklin Institute being built will house the project to be used by researchers in the UK and the rest of the world.
Chemotherapy is a common treatment for cancer, which uses drugs that are introduced into the bloodstream and absorbed into surrounding tissue.
“A major challenge with current delivery methods for cancer drugs is that they rely on the active molecules reaching and entering the tumour cells by diffusion. This makes it difficult to ensure that all parts of a tumour are treated and leads to terrible side effects because large volumes of healthy tissue also absorb the drug. We need to find a better way to get these drugs into cancer cells specifically, quickly and effectively,” said Professor Stride of University of Oxford. “The approach we’re developing introduces harmless particles into the bloodstream and then uses ultrasound to activate them, in order to both release the drug at a specific site and helping to drive it into the tumour to reach all of the cells within in it.”
The new instrument will be a key part of the core capability of the RFI’s INSIGHT laboratory, which will be devoted to developing technology for imaging and therapy at the intersection of light and sound.
It will be the first camera in the world able to capture up to 100 million individual frames per second at 1 megapixel resolution and operate across a wide optical spectrum from ultraviolet to infrared. This one-of-a-kind camera will enable researchers to see how ultrasound interacts with drug-loaded particles and tissue and how that enables controlled the uptake of drugs into cancer cells. The camera will help researchers to understand the biophysical mechanisms behind drug delivery – critical to perfecting ultrasound targeted drug delivery.
“Most current devices are limited to the optical part of the spectrum or look at specific wavelengths,” said Stride. “This camera will be flexible, able to look at the full spectrum from ultraviolet to infrared, which means we’ll be able to see more detail and get higher resolution images than ever before. It will help us see how the ultrasound affects the particles and how exactly it helps improve the drug delivery and allow us to develop the treatment to make it more effective.”