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Radiopaque and fluorescent embolic particles have been synthesized and characterised to match the size of vasculature found in tumours to ensure effective occlusion of the vessels. A literature search showed that the majority of vessels surrounding a tumour were less than 50 µm and therefore polydispersed polystyrene particles with a peak size of 50 µm have been synthesised. The embolic particles contain 5-8 nm amorphous tantalum oxide nanoparticles which provide X-ray contrast. Embolic particles containing up to 9.4 wt% tantalum oxide were prepared and showed significant contrast compared to the undoped polystyrene particles. The X-ray contrast of the embolic particles was shown to be linear (R(2) = 0.9) with respect to the concentration of incorporated tantalum nanoparticles. A model was developed which showed that seventy-five 50 µm embolic particles containing 10% tantalum oxide could provide the same contrast as 5 cm of bone. Therefore, the synthesized particles would provide sufficient X-ray contrast to enable visualisation within a tumour.

Original publication




Journal article


J Mater Sci Mater Med

Publication Date





Contrast Media, Embolization, Therapeutic, Humans, Materials Testing, Metal Nanoparticles, Microscopy, Electron, Transmission, Neoplasms, Oxides, Particle Size, Polystyrenes, Tantalum, Tomography, X-Ray Computed