On Wednesday 8 July 2020, D.I. Beekers will defend her PhD dissertation, entitled: ‘Local Drug Delivery by Microbubbles’.
Local drug delivery is essential to effectively treat diseases and reduce side effects in the rest of the body. After intravenous administration, drugs circulate through the bloodstream and are delivered to the entire body. In addition, the vascular endothelium forms an important barrier, so only a small percentage of the drugs manage to leave the vascular system and actually reach the diseased tissue. However, drug delivery can be locally enhanced with ultrasound in combination with microscopically small gas bubbles (1 - 10 µm in diameter). These gas bubbles are encased in a layer of fat and are known as microbubbles. The incoming ultrasound pressure wave causes microbubbles to vibrate (oscillate). Upon oscillation, microbubbles can very locally stimulate drug release or even cause cell death. In addition, microbubbles are also very effective in reflecting ultrasound. They have been used in the clinic for decades as contrast agents for diagnostic ultrasound imaging to visualize blood flow. This thesis is based on in vitro work, that is, biological studies conducted under artificial and controlled laboratory conditions in special cell culture systems.
The PhD defences will not take place publicly in the Senate Hall or Professor Andries Queridoroom due to the coronavirus. The candidates will defend their thesis online.