Focused Ultrasound for Metastatic Colorectal Cancer: First Patient Enrolled in Clinical Trial


Key Points

  • Oxford-based OxSonics Therapeutics announced that the first patient was dosed in a clinical trial evaluating their SonoTran platform for treating colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver.
  • The SonoTran platform is designed to actively pump unmodified oncology drugs at the site of solid tumors to enhance their effectiveness.
  • Nearly 50 patients with liver metastases will be enrolled at Oxford University Hospitals.
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Oxford-based manufacturer OxSonics Therapeutics announced that the first patient was dosed in a clinical trial evaluating the use of their SonoTran® platform for enhancing the treatment of colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver.

The SonoTran® platform is comprised of OxSonics’ proprietary SonoTran Particles and the Sonotran® System – a noninvasive ultrasound device. The particles carry a pre-formed, stabilized gas bubble. When exposed to focused ultrasound via the SonoTran System, the particles expand and collapse to create sustained levels of inertial cavitation at the site of the tumor. This mechanical micro-pumping effect is intended to actively enhance the transport of unmodified anti-cancer drugs into and throughout solid tumors. In addition, the SonoTran System incorporates OxSonics’ ‘see-as-you-treat’ technology enabling mapping and monitoring of treatment on screen in real time.

OxSonics CEO and co-founder Dr. Colin Story commented: “Striving to deliver smarter and better therapies to help patients tackle tough-to-treat cancers is at the heart of everything we do, so we’re delighted that SonoTran is now being evaluated clinically. After more than ten years of innovative research at the University of Oxford’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering, followed by a further eight years of pre-clinical development by the world-leading multi-disciplinary team at OxSonics, we now enter a new and very exciting chapter in OxSonics’ evolution.”

In this trial, researchers are using the SonoTran System to enhance the chemotherapy treatment of colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver. The study contains three cohorts. Cohort 1 patients will have undergone chemotherapy treatment and will receive one SonoTran ultrasound treatment and one injection of the SonoTran Particles to assess safety. In Cohort 2, patients who are about to have their tumors removed surgically will receive low doses of chemotherapy drugs, and half of the cohort will also receive SonoTran Particles and ultrasound. The tumors that are removed will be examined to determine the concentrations of drugs within the tissue and note if the cohort that received the SonoTran procedure had elevated levels of drug compared to those that did not undergo the ultrasound procedure. Cohort 3 patients will have not yet received treatment for their tumors; therefore, they will receive repeated cycles of standard chemotherapy drugs, and half of them will also receive SonoTran Particles and SonoTran ultrasound. Tumor responses will be measured and compared.

The study is led by Professor Rachel Kerr in the Department of Oncology at the University of Oxford. OxSonics and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) are providing the support and funding for the study.

Patients are now being enrolled at Oxford University Hospitals, and those interested in learning more are encouraged to contact David Thompson at

Read the OxSonics Press Release
Learn More About the Trial