Philips collaborates to tackle cancer

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cancer Us

Philips has entered into a joint research programme to evaluate ThermoDox with MR-HIFU, a combination therapy that could provide a precise, non-invasive way to treat difficult cancers.

The research collaboration is focused on treating pancreatic cancer and bone metastases, both of which affect large numbers of people but are currently lacking in effective treatments.

Phillips is hoping to improve this situation by collaborating with Celsion. The treatment uses ThermoDox, Celsion’s heat-activated liposomal drug, and Philips’ MR-HIFU (magnetic resonance guided high intensity focused ultrasound) to provide targeted therapeutic delivery.

MR-HIFU can precisely and non-invasively target lesions with acoustic energy which creates enough heat to activate ThermoDox, releasing high concentrations of doxorubicin from the encapsulation liposome.

The partners believe this treatment could “change the paradigm for addressing a broad range of cancers​” and are now moving it through preclinical with a view to submitting an investigational new drug (IND) application early in 2010.

Therapeutic areas

Initial development of the technology is focusing on pancreatic cancer and bone metastases. There are 37,000 annual incidences of pancreatic cancer in the US but chemotherapy provides modest benefit survival and curative surgical resection is indicated in fewer than 20 per cent of patients.

Consequently the partners believe their combination therapy can improve the standard of treatment. It is a similar situation for bone metastases which affect the majority of patients with late-stage breast, prostate or lung cancer but lack an effective treatment.

Currently US patients generally receive opiates to help reduce the pain but there is no consistently effective method for controlling tumours, with external beam radiation only being effective in some patients.

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