Learn More: What is Sonodynamic Therapy?


Key Points

  • Two published articles and a webinar over the past year provide a comprehensive overview of sonodynamic therapy (SDT). 
  • SDT is an emerging, noninvasive cancer treatment using focused ultrasound to activate agents that selectively accumulate in tumor cells and cause cell death. 

Sonodynamic therapy (SDT) is a novel way to use a 30-year-old combination therapy that was initially developed to diagnose and treat skin cancer. SDT shows promise for treating the most serious malignant brain tumors, including glioblastoma (GBM) and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). 

Over the past several months, two articles and a Foundation webinar have been published. Each of these resources provides wonderful background information about the history of SDT, current preclinical and clinical research, and future directions. 

In “Theranostic Uses of the Heme Pathway in Neuro-Oncology: Protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) and Its Journey from Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) through Photodynamic Diagnosis (PDD) to Sonodynamic Therapy (SDT),” the senior leaders of SonALAsense, Inc., an SDT company, describe the original creation of photodynamic therapy (the precursor of SDT) and its use over the past 33 years. After explaining the preclinical progression of PDT to SDT and enumerating the six current adult and pediatric clinical trials that are using SDT for GBM and DIPG, the authors conclude by outlining three future directions for the clinical evolution of the technology. See Cancers 

In “Sonodynamic Therapy and Sonosensitizers for Glioma Treatment: A Systematic Qualitative Review,” researchers from Cornell University and the Lenox Hill Hospital/Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell sought to determine the efficacy of SDT for the treatment of gliomas by systematically reviewing all existing preclinical (and early clinical) data. They noted the wide variety of sonosensitizers, sonication protocols, and model systems and concluded that focused ultrasound is effective in creating reactive oxygen species, leading to tumor cell death, when it is used to activate several different sonosensitizers. See World Neurosurgery 

The webinar, “Sonodynamic Therapy for Brain Tumors,” featured an expert panel discussing the current state of SDT, including preclinical laboratory results and current clinical trials. Panelists included Francesco Prada, MD, and Vijay Agarwal, MD, two of the neurosurgery experts who are spearheading the transition of SDT research from the lab to patient care. See the Foundation’s YouTube Channel