PHOENIX, Ariz. and OSLO, Norway -- March 19, 2018 -- For decades, ultrasound has been used to image organs such as the heart and kidneys, check blood flow, monitor the development of fetuses, reduce pain and even break up kidney stones.
Now, a Norwegian biotech company called Phoenix Solutions AS is working with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), a Phoenix, Arizona-based biomedical research facility, to test the use of these pulsed sound waves to direct and focus cancer drug therapies.
In laboratory tests, TGen will help analyze the effectiveness of a technology called Acoustic Cluster Therapy (ACT), a unique approach to targeting cancer cells by concentrating the delivery of chemotherapies, making them more effective and potentially reducing their toxicity.
Humanscan Co. Ltd., a South Korean manufacture of ultrasound diagnostic imaging, is developing clinically applicable hardware optimized for ACT, which TGen will then validate.
Phoenix Solutions is using funding from Innovation Norway to conduct this research in advance of pancreatic cancer clinical trials planned later this year.
"We are very pleased to receive this grant, which will enable us to develop and validate an optimal ultrasound platform for clinical use of ACT. In their respective fields, Humanscan and TGen both represent the cutting edge of science, and we are confident this will contribute to the clinical success of our program," said Dr. Per Sontum, CEO of Phoenix Solutions.
TGen is a world leader in the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. The TGen team led the clinical development of one of the current standard-of-care regimens for this disease -- nab-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine. TGen currently is involved in 13 pancreatic cancer clinical programs.
"We are pleased that this research program has become a reality, and look forward to working with ACT. The concept represents a novel approach to targeted drug delivery and looks very promising," said Dr. Haiyong Han, a Professor in TGen's Molecular Medicine Division and head of the Basic Research Unit in TGen's Pancreatic Cancer Program.
Among the advantages of ultrasound technology: it is generally painless; non-invasive; does not require needles, injections or incisions; and patients are not exposed to ionizing radiation, making the procedure safer than diagnostic techniques such as X-rays and CT scans.
Humanscan CEO Sungmin Rhim said, "We are excited to enter into this collaboration with Phoenix (Solutions) and participate in the development of ACT. Ultrasound mediated, targeted drug delivery is an emerging therapy approach with great potential and we are delighted to be in the forefront of this development."
Phoenix Solutions also is considering this technology for use in addressing other types of cancer, including: liver, prostate and triple-negative breast cancer; and other diseases, including those involving inflammation and the central nervous system.
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Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. TGen is focused on helping patients with neurological disorders, cancer, diabetes, and infectious diseases, through cutting edge translational research (the process of rapidly moving research towards patient benefit). TGen physicians and scientists work to unravel the genetic components of both common and rare complex diseases in adults and children. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities literally worldwide, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help our patients through efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. TGen is affiliated with City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and cancer and diabetes treatment center: http://www.
About Phoenix Solutions
Phoenix Solutions is a Norwegian biotech company sprung out from GE Healthcare in 2013, currently developing a technology platform for targeted drug delivery -- Acoustic Cluster Therapy (ACT®). ACT® is a unique approach to ultrasound mediated, targeted drug delivery -- capable of enhancing significantly the clinical utility of a wide range of therapeutic molecules and nano-drugs for a wide range of clinical indications. Its primary mode of action is in defeating the vascular barrier, enhancing extravasation, distribution and uptake of drug in the targeted tissue, thereby increasing efficacy and/or reducing toxicity. ACT® is generally indicated towards diseases where current clinical practice treats known, localized pathologies (e.g. solid tumors) with medicinal therapy, and where Standard of Care is being limited from an inability to deliver sufficiently high concentrations of drug to the tumor without excessive systemic toxicity. Phoenix Solutions is currently targeting the oncology segment, looking in particular at pancreatic, liver, triple negative breast and prostate cancers, and has extremely promising preclinical results so far.
Humanscan Co. Ltd is focused on development of innovative ultrasound transducers. It has a unique expertise within single crystal probes, and was the first company to mass-produce this class of transducers.
TGen Senior Science Writer