Israeli researchers have succeeded in destroying breast cancer cells after developing a new treatment that "combines the application of low-frequency ultrasound and microbubbles," Tel Aviv University's Department of Biomedical Engineering announced on Thursday.
"Once the ultrasound is activated," researchers said in a statement, "the microbubbles attach themselves to cancer cells and explode like intelligent, targeted missiles, creating holes in the cell membrane and thus allowing the drug to be delivered."
"Tested in the laboratory, the method has managed to destroy 80% of tumor cells," the study, led by Dr. Tali Ilovitsh, concluded.
As for the remaining 20 percent, the TAU team said that they were able to inject the micro-bubbles into a specific gene, "which acted as a Trojan horse."
The remaining cells then "consumed" the gene causing them to produce "a substance which triggered the attack of the cancer cell by the immune system."
The two-year study was recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ( PNAS ).
Researchers hope that that the new technology can also be used to treat brain-related diseases such as brain tumors and other neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
“In these diseases, the blood-brain barrier prevents drugs from entering the brain. The microbubbles will be able to create a temporary breach there, allowing the entry of treatment into the targeted area without the need for invasive surgical intervention," Ilovitsh said.