The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is asking members of the research community with experience in immunology to comment on our draft assessment guidelines by August 1, 2020.
Focused ultrasound is an early-stage, noninvasive therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the lives of patients with cancer by providing either an alternative or complement to existing therapies. A growing body of research has demonstrated that focused ultrasound can initiate a powerful anti-tumor immune response that complements other immunotherapies, such as checkpoint inhibitors. This combination approach has the potential to enhance the effectiveness and reduce the side effects of current immunotherapy treatments. Currently, the first clinical trials pairing focused ultrasound with immunotherapy drugs are underway, investigating this combination approach in patients with advanced metastatic cancers.
In July 2019, the Foundation partnered with the Cancer Research Institute to host a Focused Ultrasound and Cancer Immunotherapy Workshop. That meeting culminated in a clear roadmap of important projects and next steps for the field. The group determined that the highest priority was the need to develop guidelines for immune analysis during focused ultrasound studies, including protocols for optimal collection and storage of tissue samples and prioritized immune assays. As the field continues to grow, it is critical that all studies use the same methods of analysis whenever possible so results can be compared as researchers examine the effects of varying drug combinations in multiple tumor models.
In recent months, the Foundation has drafted guidelines – for preclinical and clinical studies – with the input of our Cancer Immunotherapy Scientific Advisory Board and several other researchers in this field. We are pleased to invite public comment on these documents.
The proposed guidelines include suggestions for analysis decision trees and assays. We emphasize the need to run a few, very pointed assays/analyses first, before storing remaining samples for later analysis.
We encourage the community to review these preclinical and clinical guidelines and submit comments until August 1, 2020.