Despite many years of advancements in chemotherapy and radiation treatment, the majority of cancer patients succumb to their disease. In part, this state of affairs results from a “one-standard-treatment-for-all” approach that does not take into account the complexity of cancer
as a disease. In this proposal, we are advancing the promise of personalized cancer care by developing and enhancing the use of ultrasound and MRI techniques to improve chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Our research focuses on breast cancer and encompasses three interrelated areas. We are investigating:
Area 1: Ultrasound treatments to make chemotherapy and radiation therapy kill cancer cells more effectively without damaging surrounding tissues, improving treatment success rates while reducing side effects. This is accomplished using microbubble-mediated perturbation of tumour vasculature, making tumours more sensitive to chemotherapy and radiation.
Area 2: Novel quantitative ultrasound methods that can improve diagnosis and detect tumour responses to treatment, empowering oncologists to optimize therapy for patients under their care.
Area 3: Novel methods in metabolic MRI that can detect responses to treatment earlier than ever. This technology can help oncologists decide early in the treatment process whether to keep a patient on the therapy they started with or whether to switch to something else that has the potential to be more successful.
The methods we are developing are applicable to both local and metastatic disease. The research spans new innovative cancer therapies, new therapy-response assessment methods, and the first-in-human treatment of cancer using the newly developed methods. Studies are conducted in animal models of human cancer and then evaluated in cancer patients. The majority of this research uses technologies already approved for use in patients, and already in common use in cancer care. This means that our findings, once validated, will reach patients in a timely manner.
Impact of Research:
Our research will use ultrasound and MRI methods to enhance chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Novel therapy monitoring methods will be combined with new therapies, and together these technologies will disrupt and transform state-of-the art cancer treatment delivery, ultimately leading to improved care for cancer patients.