October 16, 2008 - Royal Philips Electronics and Celsion Corp. have signed a joint research agreement focusing on a new cancer treatment that combines Philips’ ultrasound technology with Celsion’s drug delivery solution to target tumors with high concentrations of a cancer-fighting drug.
Under the terms of the agreement, Philips and Celsion will collaborate to explore the potential for using Philips’ investigational magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) system in combination with Celsion’s leading drug candidate, ThermoDox, to treat a broad range of cancers. The research uses the HIFU system to position doxorubicin, an approved and frequently used anti-cancer drug, and to create a mild hyperthermia that releases the drug directly into the tumor. The result would be the ability to treat tumors that would otherwise be inaccessible.
The Philips HIFU system is designed to precisely control and deliver energy noninvasively to targeted tissues. HIFU is being researched to evaluate its use in activating Celsion’s temperature-sensitive liposome technology to release encapsulated chemotherapy drugs such as doxorubicin. Doxorubicin is the potent anticancer agent in ThermoDox. By using Philips’ HIFU technology to deliver targeted, localized activation temperatures, Philips’ and Celsion’s research will explore the potential for ThermoDox to noninvasively treat a number of solid tumor cancers that may be susceptible to the combination of a high concentration of doxorubicin and concurrent hyperthermia.
"Localized drug delivery is being evaluated to determine the potential for increasing the potency of drugs in their target regions with equal or less toxicity to critical organs,” said Falko Busse, vice president and chief technology officer, MR, for Philips Healthcare. “The Philips MR-HIFU system could be a powerful tool to deliver these thermally activated drugs. Our volumetric heating with feedback technology is being designed to allow control of both the tissue temperature and the heating area. We are very excited about this research collaboration with Celsion in the promising field of localized drug delivery."
Philips’ commitment develop cancer treatments is complements Celsion’s mission is to bring temperature-sensitive liposomal technology to treat difficult cancers. Philips’ MRI-guided HIFU technology has the potential to heat a defined area while providing a real-time visualization of the heated area through the use of MRI.”
Philips and Celsion are conducting research to test two premises. First, ThermoDox has the potential to eliminate cancer cells that may otherwise remain viable and be responsible for secondary tumors by using HIFU to aid in releasing the concentrated drug within and around the margins of the heated area. Second, using HIFU in the low temperature activation mode in combination with ThermoDox has the potential to provide a means to deliver high concentrations of chemotherapeutics to multiple sites at virtually any location in the body.