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Cancer Breakthrough: New Device Optimizes Lymphoma Treatment

Cancer Breakthrough: New Device Optimizes Lymphoma Treatment

CIVO tests cancer drugs in human lymphomas in only 72 hours.

CIVO, a device able to inject multiple cancer drugs at the same time has shown promising results by rapidly identifying drugs that shrink lymphomas in mice. In my last two articles, I have discussed how CIVO eliminates pre-clinical problems associated with previous cancer treatments, and I have explained the inner workings of CIVO during its very first experiments in mice. This week, I will deal with the most important question: How has CIVO performed in human experiments and what does this say about the future of cancer treatment?

The fantastic four

In an article recently published in Science Translational Medicine, Klinghoffer and colleagues from Presage Biosciences and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle designed a new system to analyze tumor sensitivity to drugs directly in patients. The goals of the first clinical trial were to establish if the technique is effective in humans and if it causes adverse effects.

After injecting vincristine into the enlarged lymph nodes of four patients with lymphomas, the researchers reported that patients tolerated the procedure well, reported no or mild pain, and showed only mild toxicity, like erythema and swelling, which resolved without treatment.

The scientists thus concluded that the CIVO technology can also be applied to human patients, and envisioned further improvements to better target the drug to cancer tissue, track its distribution, and allow the injection of a larger number of drugs at the same time. Consequently, the first clinical trial led to the development of a new CIVO device. Its improved performance has already been confirmed in additional studies in animals.

Future improvements

At the moment, the CIVO system can be used only for tumors that are accessible by injection through the skin, like lymphomas, cutaneous tumors, soft tissue sarcomas, and breast carcinomas, so an important challenge will be to develop a device that can be used for tumors in internal organs.

In addition, the scientists will try to design a method to detect tumor responses in real time without the need of extracting the tumor. This method will likely be based on noninvasive imaging.

Finally, it will be important to establish if the tumor local responses to the tested drugs accurately predict whether the drug can successfully treat the patient once it is administered systemically, as it happens with mice. The good news is that further clinical trials to test CIVO technology are already ongoing.

Klinghoffer, R., Bahrami, S., Hatton, B., Frazier, J., Moreno-Gonzalez, A., Strand, A., Kerwin, W., Casalini, J., Thirstrup, D., You, S., Morris, S., Watts, K., Veiseh, M., Grenley, M., Tretyak, I., Dey, J., Carleton, M., Beirne, E., Pedro, K., Ditzler, S., Girard, E., Deckwerth, T., Bertout, J., Meleo, K., Filvaroff, E., Chopra, R., Press, O., & Olson, J. (2015). A technology platform to assess multiple cancer agents simultaneously within a patient’s tumor Science Translational Medicine, 7 (284), 284-284 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa7489

Agnese Mariotti

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