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Biotech Innovations
September 11, 2018

Heat-Activation Concentrates Chemotherapy in Liver Tumors

JAMA. 2018;320(10):965. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.13026

In a recent proof-of-concept, open-label phase 1 trial, ultrasound noninvasively administered from outside the body safely triggered and enhanced delivery of a heat-sensitive chemotherapy drug to tumors. The trial involved 10 adult patients with unresectable and nonablatable primary or secondary liver tumors refractory to standard chemotherapy.

In the new method, thermosensitive nanocarriers, or liposomes, encapsulate the US Food and Drug Administration–approved chemotherapy drug doxorubicin. The therapy is administered intravenously into the bloodstream. When the liposomes encounter an ultrasound-heated tumor, they release the encapsulated drug, concentrating it in and around the tumor.