Sonodynamic Therapy Studies Show Safety, Provide Review for this Novel Glioma Treatment


Key Points

  • Sonodynamic therapy (SDT) uses focused ultrasound to activate compounds called sonosensitizers, which then produce a local cytotoxic effect.
  • Researchers recently published a preclinical safety study and a review of the technology as used in gliomas.
  • A first-in-human clinical trial using SDT to treat glioblastoma is now recruiting in Arizona.

FUF SonodynamicTherapy FINAL

Glioma Preclinical Safety Study

Intracranial Sonodynamic Therapy With 5-Aminolevulinic Acid and Sodium Fluorescein: Safety Study in a Porcine Model
Sonodynamic therapy (SDT) uses focused ultrasound to activate compounds called sonosensitizers. When activated, these molecules can produce local cytotoxic effects in tissues, including malignant brain tumors. To determine the safety of this technique in the brain, a collaborative group of researchers combined low-intensity focused ultrasound with FDA-approved sonosensitizers and tested the procedure in a porcine model. The molecules tested, fluorescein (Na-Fl)- and 5 aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA), produced no damage to the normal brain as visualized with MRI and no cellular necrosis or apoptosis up to seven days after the treatment. The experiments were conducted with MR-guidance and Insightec’s Exablate 4000 220 kHz system. The researchers concluded that Na-FL and 5-ALA focused ultrasound therapies were safe in healthy brain tissue in this model. See Frontiers in Oncology >

Review of SDT Treatment for Glioma

Sonodynamic Therapy for Gliomas
Researchers from the Focused Ultrasound Foundation and the University of Virginia conducted a review of the literature on SDT in glioma cell cultures and animal models. They analyzed the studies to determine effective sonosensitizer agents, their mechanisms for causing cell death in gliomas, and their success rates with various parameters and models. The group determined that SDT is a promising treatment approach for gliomas and suggested that additional studies are conducted to further define optimal sonication parameters and sonosensitizers, especially with human clinical trials now underway. See the Journal of Neuro-Oncology >

US Clinical Trial

As reported in April 2021, researchers at the Ivy Brain Tumor Center at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, are exploring SDT to activate a drug to cause cell death only within the tumor. This noninvasive drug-device combination was developed by SonALAsense in collaboration with Insightec. The ongoing clinical trial is for patients with recurrent glioblastoma (rGBM) and other high-grade gliomas. READ MORE >