Foundation-funded Research Update: Pulsed Focused Ultrasound for Pancreatic Cancer


pancreatic cancer stockA collaborative group led by Gail ter Haar, PhD, and Elizabeth Respasky, PhD, recently completed a two-year pancreatic cancer immunotherapy project titled, “Defining Basic Properties of Physical Immunotherapy using HIFU and Immune Checkpoint Inhibition.”

With a goal of determining whether pulsed high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) could improve the anticancer effects of immune checkpoint inhibitors in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer, the researchers used the Alpinion VIFU 2000 platform to expose implanted cells to a range of HIFU power levels while administering two types of monoclonal antibodies every three days. During the study period, the group measured tumor growth along with immune cell levels in the tumors, blood, spleen and lymph nodes. The treatment improved tumor control, extended survival, and elevated immune cell levels. Could HIFU be combined with immune checkpoint inhibitors in human pancreatic cancer clinical trials?