When working in a field as expansive and exciting as Focused Ultrasound-mediated Targeted Drug Delivery, it's sometimes easy to lose sight of all the other compelling areas of Image Guided Drug Delivery (IGDD) that are equally promising on the path to better cancer care. The presentations at the "Hot Topics" Session on IGDD at on November 30th, 2010 at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Meeting were a small but solid glimpse into technologies that - along with FUS-TDD - hold great promise for improved efficacy and patient outcomes.
Research out of the laboratory of Jean-Francois H. Geschwind, M.D. at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine highlighted the promising use of drug eluting beads (DEB) delivered via transcatheter chemoembolization (TACE) in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Clinical trials in unresectable HCC are currently underway at Hopkins. These trials follow the positive initial results of the phase II study published by this group in late 2009 which concluded that DEB-TACE is a safe and effective treatment for patients with unresectable HCC. One might easily envision coupling this work with that of the presenter that followed, Dr. Reed A. Omary of Northwestern University which looked at an advanced imaging technique that could be used to monitor delivery and treatment with DEB-TACE approaches. Transcatheter Intra-arterial Perfusion (TRIP) - MRI is a technique that enables close monitoring of perfusion changes via infusion of small doses of contrast agent through the same catheter being used to deliver the embolic material. The coupling of these two techniques serve as a prime example of the desired path forward for FUS-TDD - which was the presentation that followed. King Li, M.D., M.B.A. of the Methodist Hospital presented an overview of FUS-TDD and its potential for non-invasive approaches to drug delivery and cancer care. Several fantastic presentations on this topic were given at the recent 2nd International Symposium on MR-guided Focused Ultrasound - many of which can be viewed through the Foundation's Collaborative Research Network.
The final presenter in this session was Keyvan Farahani, Ph.D. of the National Cancer Institute, whose presentation reviewed the NCI's IGDD Program as well as its funding opportunities - one of which can be found here. Please look for our January 2011 Newsletter for an overview of these opportunities as well as links to additional details.