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Delivering medicine to the lungs

Gregory Szeto, Adelaide Tovar and Jeffrey Wyckoff, Koch Institute, copyright MIT

Download this image from Wellcome Collection.

Confocal micrograph of whole mouse lungs (blue and green). Microparticles that can carry medicines (pink) are being studied to see whether they can deliver these drugs to the lungs. Current anticancer therapies have many toxic side-effects, so researchers hope that these microparticles could one day deliver anticancer medicine in a much simpler, more targeted way – for example, in an inhaler – with fewer side-effects. As microparticles release drug over time, fewer doses may be needed. The right lung in mice is divided into four lobes (right side of image), but the left lung has only one lobe (left side of image). Remnants of the windpipe (trachea) and surrounding tissue are also visible (centre). The width of the image is 12.7 mm. 

 

This image appears as a result of the partnership between Wellcome Images and MIT.

Why was this image selected from our partnership with MIT?

Anne said: “I am thrilled that MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research is again part of the Wellcome Image Awards. I’m particularly excited this year as the image selected from the Koch Institute epitomises the convergence of biology and engineering that drives our cancer research. The microscopic drug-releasing depots seen here in the lung have been created by our bioengineers to curb metastasis by leveraging the body’s own immune system. The researchers envision that these microparticles could one day be administered to patients through methods as simple as an inhaler, which reminds us that what we see in the laboratory today is what will change people’s lives tomorrow.”

Anne Deconinck, Executive Director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT