Neuroblastoma is the most common extracranial solid tumor found in children. If you’re not familiar with this form of cancer, the term neuro refers to nerves, and blastoma is cancer that starts in immature or developing cells. High-risk neuroblastoma is particularly deadly, with cure rates of only 50%. Hearing that their child has neuroblastoma could be a frightening and overwhelming experience for a parent. As serious as this prognosis is, it would be daunting for parents to think about the treatments their child may need and how the experiences would affect their child.
Current therapies are very aggressive. Thus, even cured children can suffer long-term effects from chemotherapy and radiation. In addition, the treatment can lead to bone malformations, infertility, and secondary cancers in neuroblastoma survivors. Therefore, better and more effective therapies are needed to improve cure rates and quality of life for neuroblastoma patients.
Here at UT Dallas, Dr. Shashank Sirsi and his team in The Image-Guided Drug Delivery Lab are studying less invasive ways to treat cancers—specifically neuroblastoma. They are developing ways of sensitizing tumors to chemo and radiotherapy using high-frequency soundwaves. Treatment strategies utilize sound-sensitive particles that permeate the tumor tissue or deposit. Then, they encapsulate drugs and release the medications on command at the targeted site of the tumor.
The team’s overall goals are to develop safer and more effective clinical strategies for high-risk neuroblastoma therapy. They are also looking into solving clinical challenges such as tumor drug resistance and metastatic disease.
To find out more, tune in on Wednesday, May 18th from 3-4 PM to the Research 411 Talk Show: Acoustic Neuroblastoma Therapy.