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Major Breakthrough for Cancer Treatment

By Jeaneane Payne

A joint research team from Royal Philips Electronics and Eindhoven University of Technology has demonstrated in pre-clinical studies that an improved local drug uptake in tumors is achieved, and that it can be visualized and measured in real time. Image-guided drug delivery has been studied by scientists all around the world for nearly a decade because it was thought it might enable a beneficial increase in tumor chemotherapy drug levels, thereby increasing treatment efficacy without an increase in adverse side effects. These measurements of this local drug uptake may give an indication at time of delivery if drug uptake in the tumor was sufficient, or if an additional treatment may be needed.

Cancer chemotherapy treatment is used to kill tumor cells and is more effective at higher doses. However, the applicable dosage levels are limited by potentially severe adverse effects to the rest of the body. In pre-clinical studies using their local drug delivery proof-of-concept system designed for the treatment of certain types of tumors, Philips and TU/e achieved an increased chemotherapy drug dose at the tumor site. Some tumors contain sections poorly supplied with blood, which means that chemotherapy drugs are then not taken up evenly in the tumor. As a result, some regions receive sub-optimal doses and are therefore not effectively treated with chemotherapy. Methods for visualizing and measuring drug uptake in the tumor at time of delivery were demonstrated in the pre-clinical investigations. Such information may give an indication directly after the treatment if drug uptake was sufficient. Based on this additional information, tumors that did not receive a sufficient drug dose due to their morphology may be candidates to receive an alternative therapy.

"Image-guided drug delivery technology has the potential to improve chemotherapy cancer treatment for certain types of cancer," commented Henk van Houten, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Philips Research and Program Manager Healthcare. "Researchers from the Philips-TU/e collaboration are among the leaders in developing the MRI, ultrasound and liposome combination technology for local drug delivery. Collaborating with partners and building on Philips' strength in medical imaging, we have shown that early feedback at the time of localized drug delivery treatment is possible, which could ultimately enable more informed treatment planning for better patient outcomes."

Published February 7, 2011

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