"All previous commercial formulations are not optimized for releasing directly at the tumor under radiation," said You-Yeon Won, a professor of chemical engineering at Purdue, whose lab focuses on improving drug and gene delivery in the body.

The formulation, designed to be delivered to a tumor via a long syringe needle, is a capsule containing a chemotherapy drug and nanoparticles - tiny compounds that sensitize cancer cells to radiation, making them easier to kill.

Once injected into the body and activated by X-ray radiation, the nanoparticles produce UV light, cracking open the capsule coating so that the chemotherapy drug rapidly releases to a tumor.

Here's the edge: The drug stays in the tumor at least a month - far longer than the minimal therapeutic threshold - and its concentration outside of the tumor stays well below a toxic threshold.

The formulation has been patented via the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization.

This research also aligns with Purdue's Giant Leaps celebration, acknowledging the university's global advancements made in health, longevity and quality of life as part of Purdue's 150th anniversary.

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