2015 Summer Intern: Alexis Xu


Sonodynamic Therapy Project

Alexis1Overview and Goal: To sonodynamic therapy (SDT), the use of ultrasound sonication and sonosensitizer drugs in the treatment of tumors. The interaction of ultrasound waves with drugs may generate active oxygen species that can destroy cancerous tissue (Tachibana et al, 2008). The goal of this project was to observe how the ultrasound activated sonosensitizer drugs damaged the cancer tissue.

Results/Findings/Outcome: The experiment is ongoing. We have established pressure profiles for our transducer and have preliminary data on the thermal rise in the tumor. We also manufactured components using a 3-D printer that we’ll use to improve the accuracy of our sonications and temperature measurements.

“Through my internship, I’ve seen that what gets me excited about research is its potential application. Focused ultrasound could one day be standard practice for treating tumors in a highly targeted manner, and that is simply amazing. Working with the Foundation has reaffirmed my interests in translational research as a career.” – on how the internship has affected her career plans

“After the completion of [my project], I hope my work will impact the field of focused ultrasound by providing scientific support to the relatively young concept of sonodynamic therapy, which one day could be a more localized, non-thermal treatment for cancer.” – on how her accomplishments will impact the field of focused ultrasound

“There are never enough hours in a day. Your time at the Foundation will fly by; make the most of every day and learn as much as possible.” – advice for 2016 interns