Archive for November, 2021

The Beginnings of Shakespeare

Posted on: November 22nd, 2021 by mlpAdmin

What were the social, political and artistic influences that shaped the young William Shakespeare before he moved to London to find fame and fortune in the theatre?

Until recently, studies have tended to focus on the poet’s family background; his schooling and education; and his first encounters with drama. But increasingly, historians are understanding him as part of the generation which grew up during a huge shift between the traditional thought-world of late Medieval England and the new Protestant order, imposed during the reign of Elizabeth 1st.

Fascinating recent finds – including some twenty new documents on his father – are transforming our view of the poet’s background. In particular, the bitter politics of Reformation Warwickshire, which it is now clear touched his own family.

In this illustrated talk the historian Professor Michael Wood – author of the highly-praised biography In Search of Shakespeare (2003) – looks at what we can learn from the recent discoveries.

Engineering bubbles for targeted drug delivery

Posted on: November 10th, 2021 by mlpAdmin

How is the development of new techniques to deliver drugs helping to treat cancer?

Despite extraordinary advances in the development of new drugs and biotechnology, cancer continues to represent one of the leading causes of death worldwide.  Often the problem lies not with the drugs but rather the difficulty in successfully delivering them to the site of a tumour.

In healthy tissue there is a regular structure of blood vessels supplying oxygen and nutrients to cells, which divide and grow at a steady rate.  However, in cancerous tumours, cell division and growth is unregulated. This leads to a chaotic vessel structure and regions of tissue with little or no blood supply. So, when drugs are ingested or injected into the blood stream, not all parts of the tumour are treated. And there is a high risk of recurrence.

Compounding this, in many tumours there is a pressure gradient that resists uptake of drugs from the blood vessels. This means that only a very small fraction is actually delivered.  The rest of the drug circulates and is eventually absorbed by healthy tissue, often leading to intolerable side effects.

The goal of the research being carried out in the Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME) is to develop new methods for delivering anti-cancer drugs that overcome these barriers.  In particular, physical stimuli such as ultrasound and magnetic fields are being used to localise the release and improve the distribution of drugs within tumours using micro and nanoscopic bubbles as delivery vehicles.

In this talk, Professor Eleanor Stride presents the new techniques that have been developed to fabricate and characterise these bubbles. And how they are being applied for the treatment of cancer.

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our e-newsletter to receive exclusive content and all the latest Lit & Phil news

* indicates required