SOURCE: Riverside Research Institute

Riverside Research Institute

October 07, 2010 09:30 ET

NIH Awards $2.2 Million Prostate-Cancer Research Grant to Riverside Research Institute Teamed With Focus Surgery, University College London Hospital, and Virginia Mason Medical Center

Industrial-Academic Partnership to Develop Advanced Ultrasonic Imaging Methods to Identify Cancerous Tissue During Focal Ultrasonic Treatment of Prostate Cancer

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - October 7, 2010) -  The National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health has awarded a $2.2 million grant to an international team of researchers led by Riverside Research Institute to develop advanced ultrasound methods to reliably image prostate cancer and to use these imaging methods in an integrated ultrasonic instrument to deliver high-intensity ultrasound to cancerous regions while sparing non-cancerous tissue and reducing undesirable side effects. These improvements are expected to make "focal" treatment of prostate cancer clinically feasible.

The project will be undertaken collaboratively by an international consortium consisting of scientists at Riverside Research Institute in New York, NY, engineers at Focus Surgery in Indianapolis, IN, and clinicians at the University College London Hospital in London, UK, and the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, WA.

Dr. Ernest Feleppa is the principal investigator at Riverside Research Institute. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. In 2008, Dr. Feleppa was honored by receiving the Joseph H. Holmes Pioneer Award in Basic Science from the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. He is an internationally recognized leader in developing advanced ultrasound technology -- particularly for imaging prostate cancer. Mr. Naren Sanghvi is the co-principal investigator of the project and lead scientific investigator at Focus Surgery. The clinical collaborators are Dr. Mark Emberton, the lead clinical investigator, and Dr. Hashim Ahmed, the co-clinical investigator at the University College London Hospital, and Dr. Christopher Porter, the lead clinical investigator at Virginia Mason Medical Center. Mr. Sanghvi is known throughout the world as a leader in ultrasonic therapy, particularly for treating prostate disease, and he is the founder of Focus Surgery. Drs. Emberton, Ahmed, and Porter are preeminent urological surgeons who are at the forefront of clinical research and practice in detection and treatment of prostate cancer.

The National Cancer Institute awarded this grant under its industrial-academic partnership program to fund work that has exceptional potential to move quickly from the research laboratory to patient care. Under this award, the research team will develop technology to image suspected cancerous prostate tissue using information derived from ultrasound signals acquired prior to ultrasonic treatment of cancerous foci. These advanced imaging methods will be incorporated into an existing, highly effective, ultrasonic instrument, a Sonablate 500 manufactured by Focus Surgery, that uses high-intensity ultrasound to thermally ablate, i.e., "cook," and thereby destroy prostate tissue. Its most common application is destruction of abnormal tissue that causes an enlarged prostate. Focus Surgery currently is seeking FDA approval for use of the Sonablate 500 to treat prostate cancer in the United States. The Sonoblate 500 already is widely employed outside the US to treat prostate disease by thermal ablation.

Currently, all treatments of prostate cancer tend to remove or destroy the entire prostate gland because cancerous and non-cancerous regions cannot be distinguished reliably using any current conventional imaging modality. The necessity to remove or destroy the entire gland affects non-cancerous as well as cancerous tissue and leads to undesirable side effects involving, for example, incontinence, loss of sexual function, bowel damage, etc. "Successful integration of a highly reliable ultrasonic means of imaging prostate cancer with a proven ultrasonic instrument for ablating prostate tissue represents an advance with enormous clinical value for more-effective, less toxic treatment of gland-confined disease. Imaging of prostate cancer using the methods being applied in this study would allow focal treatment that is limited to cancerous regions of the gland, which would be of great value in speeding recovery and improving quality of life for many treated prostate-cancer patients," said Dr. Feleppa.

This grant complements a second academic-industrial-partnership grant awarded to Dr. Feleppa at Riverside Research Institute. The second grant combines Dr. Feleppa's ultrasound methods for imaging prostate cancer with advanced magnetic-resonance methods for the purposes of guiding prostate biopsies and targeting various types of prostate-cancer treatment.

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