The world’s first patient has been treated with an “innovative” new technology dubbed “acoustic cluster therapy”, a technology that uses microscopic clusters of bubbles and liquid droplets to enhance the delivery of chemotherapy drugs to tumours.
The new treatment, which is now being trialled by The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, promises to “improve the effectiveness of the chemotherapy by better targeting it to the cancer site,” and could potentially be explored with reduced doses of drug in order to reduce the severity of side effects.
Moving forward, the phase I/II clinical trial of the acoustic cluster therapy will aim to provide early data on the effectiveness of the therapy as well as establish its safety. The treatment will then be used to treat patients with tumours in the liver that have spread from the bowel or pancreas.
If the trial is successful, acoustic cluster therapy could enter larger clinical trials or trials in other cancer types. The researchers say that they aim, eventually, to use acoustic cluster therapy to boost the chemotherapy used to reduce the size of a tumour before surgery – potentially helping to cure some people with cancer.
Professor Jeffrey Bamber, professor in physics applied to medicine at The Institute of Cancer Research is “delighted” that the work “has progressed to the point where the technology is now being assessed in patients for the first time. It’s a very exciting ‘door opening’ technology which concentrates more of the drug in the tumour.”
He went on to explain that the researchers “expect eventually to be able to both treat tumours more effectively and reduce the rate and severity of side effects. In the long term we hope this technology will be of particular benefit in difficult-to-treat tumours, such as those of the pancreas. It may also assist new types of treatments such as immunotherapy.”
The clinical trial is largely funded by Phoenix Solutions with additional funding from the Research Council of Norway, as well as support from the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at The Royal Marsden and the ICR.