News | Contrast Media | September 11, 2015

Ultrasound Pilot Study Shows Positive Results for Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer

Microbubble contrast agent can improve tumor absorption of cancer drugs

ultrasound, microbubbles, delivery, absorption, drugs, pancreatic cancer, ICUS

September 11, 2015 — Tiny gas microbubbles can enhance the delivery and absorption of cancer drugs in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, according to a new pilot study. The study was described at the International Contrast Ultrasound Society (ICUS) annual conference in Chicago.

One year after their last treatment cycle, two of 10 patients are still alive. 74 percent of pancreatic cancer patients die within the first year of diagnosis. The average life expectancy after diagnosis with metastic pancreatic cancer is just three to six months.

"Our early findings suggested that commercially-available ultrasound microbubbles, combined with a standard chemotherapy drug, might prolong survival in pancreatic cancer patients," according to Odd Helge Gilja, M.D., head of National Centre of Ultrasound in Gastroenterology at Haukeland University Hospital, in Bergen, Norway.

The pilot study included 10 patients with inoperable tumors, and preliminary results in 2014 showed that tumor size was reduced or growth was slowed in the patients, according to Gilja. "The patients treated with ultrasound sonoporation were able to undergo significantly more treatment cycles than those receiving standard chemotherapy. Additional studies are planned to confirm and potentially extend the results," he said.

"The findings are extremely exciting because this study appears to represent the first time ultrasound microbubbles have been used in patients for drug delivery," according to Steven Feinstein, M.D., co-president of ICUS and a professor of medicine at Rush University, Chicago. "If further studies confirm the Bergen findings, ultrasound microbubbles could prove to be an innovative platform option for delivery of drugs and genes to treat other cancers and a wide variety of medical abnormalities throughout the body," he said.

Gilja reported that all 10 patients who participated in the pilot Phase I study received an infusion of a standard chemotherapy drug, gemcitabine, followed by an infusion of a microbubble contrast agent. A customized commercial ultrasound scanner was then used to confirm the presence of the microbubbles in the vicinity of the tumor and to induce "sonoporation," a transient opening and resealing of cell membranes to allow for enhanced delivery and absorption of the cancer drug. Tumor sizes were confirmed by computed tomography (CT) imaging, according to Gilja.

Three ultrasound contrast agents — Definity (Lantheus Medical Imaging), Optison (GE Healthcare) and Lumason (Bracco Diagnostics) — are available in the United States but are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for cardiac imaging only.

For more information: www.icus-society.org

Related Content

Philips Introduces New OB/GYN Ultrasound Innovations at ISUOG 2017. Vivian Fornell
News | Ultrasound Womens Healthcare | September 19, 2017
September 19, 2017 — Philips announced new OB/GYN innovations at the 27th World Congress on Ultrasound in Obstetrics
FDA Committee Votes to Expand Warning Labels on Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents
News | Contrast Media | September 12, 2017
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Medical Imaging Drugs Advisory Committee (MIDAC) voted overwhelmingly...
News | Imaging | September 11, 2017
September 11, 2017 — Innovatus Imaging Corp., a newly created holding company formed by private equity firm Resilienc
FDA Holds MIDAC Meeting on Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents
News | Contrast Media | September 07, 2017
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it would hold a meeting of the Medical Imaging Drugs Advisory...
Siemens Healthineers Receives FDA Clearance for TrueFusion Structural Heart Disease Feature
Technology | Ultrasound Imaging | September 06, 2017
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared TrueFusion, a new cardiovascular application from Siemens...
FDA Approves Guerbet's Dotarem for Pediatric Patients Younger Than Two Years
Technology | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | September 06, 2017
September 6, 2017 — Guerbet LLC USA announced that the U.S.
Iowa Hospital Network Purchases Carestream Ultrasound, X-ray Units
News | Ultrasound Imaging | August 30, 2017
Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo, Iowa, recently purchased and installed two Carestream Touch Prime XE Ultrasound...
European Medicines Agency Issues Update on Gadolinium Contrast Agents
News | Contrast Media | August 29, 2017
August 29, 2017 — The European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued a final opinion that recommended restricting the use of
Technology | Ultrasound Imaging | August 18, 2017
August 18, 2017 — SuperSonic Imagine recently introduced the newest version of its premium...
Pentax Medical Launches New Slim Linear Ultrasound Endoscope
Technology | Endoscopes | August 17, 2017
Pentax Medical Co. announced the U.S. launch of the Slim Linear Ultrasound Endoscope (EG-3270UK), the company's newest...
Overlay Init