Our Jason Sheehan, MD, PhD, is pioneering a new application of focused ultrasound that is showing promise against glioblastoma, the deadliest brain tumor, in very early testing. The approach also may prove useful against other cancers in sensitive parts of the body that are difficult to get at.
Dr. Sheehan, a neurosurgeon, is using a “sonosensitizing” drug to make the cancer cells susceptible to sound waves. He then hits them with focused ultrasound, which causes tiny bubbles to form inside the cells, killing them.
The work is early, but Dr. Sheehan’s tests on cell samples in lab dishes have yielded encouraging results. He and his collaborators concluded that the technique has “substantial potential for treatment of malignant brain tumors and other challenging oncology indications,” such as breast cancer, lung cancer and melanoma.
“Sonodynamic therapy with focused ultrasound offers a new therapeutic approach to treating patients with malignant brain tumors,” Dr. Sheehan said. “This approach combines two approved options, [the drug] 5-ALA and focused ultrasound, to produce a powerful tumoricidal effect on several different types of glioblastomas.”
I’ll have news of another interesting glioblastoma finding for you soon. In the meantime, you might check out this post on another interesting application of focused ultrasound we’re developing.