- Researchers investigated whether low-intensity focused ultrasound plus SonoTran® Particles could improve delivery of several cancer therapies to pancreatic tumors.
- They used a large animal model surgically engrafted with human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma tumors.
- The treatment increased intratumor concentrations of cetuximab, paclitaxel, and gemcitabine when compared with tumors not targeted with ultrasound in the same animal.
A collaborative group of researchers based at Virginia Tech worked with OxSonics Therapeutics to conduct a pilot study investigating whether low-intensity focused ultrasound plus SonoTran® Particles could improve delivery of several cancer therapies to pancreatic tumors. It has traditionally been challenging to get drugs into pancreatic tumors because of the organ’s dense, protective connective tissue and other characteristics.
OxSonics Therapeutics has pioneered the development and testing of gas-stabilizing, sub-micron-scale SonoTran particles. These particles can be used to induce cavitation while being small enough to pass into a solid tumor through leaky vasculature.
The research team at Virginia Tech led by Irving (Coy) Allen, PhD, developed a pig model that mimics human pancreatic cancer. After injecting these pigs with common cancer therapies (i.e., cetuximab, gemcitabine, and paclitaxel) followed by SonoTran particles, they used the ultrasound-guided SonoTran System to induce cavitation in the tumor areas. The treatment increased intratumor concentrations of cetuximab (477%), paclitaxel (193%), and gemcitabine (148%) when compared with tumors not targeted with ultrasound in the same animals.
“The cetuximab response is particularly promising, because cetuximab is a monoclonal antibody that targets the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and EGFR controls the pathways for cell division and survival,” said Dr. Allen. “Human clinical trials with cetuximab have shown mixed results, so perhaps the addition of the SonoTran Particles and ultrasound cavitation could improve clinical trial results.”
The authors concluded that ultrasound-mediated cavitation, when delivered in combination with the gas-entrapping SonoTran particles, improved the delivery of therapeutics in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma that was surgically engrafted into the pig model.
See Pharmaceutics (open source)