Ultrasound Technology Could Enhance Cancer Drug Therapies


Researchers collaborate to test acoustic cluster therapy to improve treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Ultrasound technology is versatile tool that can be used for imaging organs, monitoring fetuses, reducing pain, checking blood flow, and breaking up kidney stones.

A new technology called acoustic cluster therapy (ACT) may make ultrasound useful in cancer treatment as well, according to an announcement from the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). ACT could target cancer cells by concentrating the direction of chemotherapies, allowing the treatments to become more effective and less toxic, according to the release.

Phoenix Solutions AS, a Norwegian biotech company, is collaborating with TGen, a biomedical research facility based in Phoenix, AZ, to test using ultrasound to direct and focus cancer drug therapies.

A South Korean manufacturer of ultrasound imaging, Humanscan, is developing equipment for TGen that will be optimal for ACT, according to the announcement.

"We are excited to enter into this collaboration with Phoenix (Solutions) and participate in the development of ACT,” said Sungmin Rhim, CEO of Humanscan. “Ultrasound mediated, targeted drug delivery is an emerging therapy approach with great potential and we are delighted to be in the forefront of this development."

Research is being funded by Innovation Norway prior to the launch of clinical trials to evaluate the therapy in pancreatic cancer, which are planned for later in the year, according to TGen.

"We are very pleased to receive this grant, which will enable us to develop and validate an optimal ultrasound platform for clinical use of ACT,” said, Per Sontum, PhD, CEO of Phoenix Solutions. “In their respective fields, Humanscan and TGen both represent the cutting edge of science, and we are confident this will contribute to the clinical success of our program.”

TGen led the development of the current standard-of-care regimens for patients with pancreatic cancer. The company is currently involved in 13 clinical programs involving pancreatic cancer treatment.

"We are pleased that this research program has become a reality, and look forward to working with ACT. The concept represents a novel approach to targeted drug delivery and looks very promising," said Haiyong Han, PhD, head of the Basic Research Unit in TGen’s Pancreatic Cancer Program.

There are several advantages to using ultrasound technology—it is painless, non-invasive, requires no needles, injections, or incisions, and patients are not exposed to the ionizing radiation that is involved with diagnostic techniques, such as X-rays and CT scans.

Phoenix Solutions also anticipates using ultrasound technology to treat other types of cancer, including liver, prostate, and triple-negative breast cancer as well as other conditions, including inflammatory diseases and those effecting the central nervous system.

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