TGen testing whether ultrasound can help fight pancreatic cancer

Posted at 6:24 PM, Mar 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-15 22:32:20-04

In the battle against pancreatic cancer, a Phoenix-based organization will soon begin testing a new method that may enhance the effectiveness of current treatments.

The Translational Genomics Research Institute, or TGen, will begin testing with ultrasound next week. The organization is working with a Norwegian biotech company, Phoenix Solutions.

"It could...significantly improve the activity of the current treatment," said TGen Professor Dr. Haiyong Han.

The test will look at pulsed sound waves to see if they can allow certain therapies to become more effective.

"One of the problems with pancreatic cancer is the tumors are...rock solid." Dr. Han said. "The drugs cannot get in."

Dr. Han told ABC15 the test will look to see if ultrasound is able to improve drug delivery. TGen's portion of the testing could take six months.

Pancreatic cancer is a disease that has often spread by the time a patient is diagnosed. Some patients have just months to live after learning of the diagnosis. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 50,000 Americans are likely to face the diagnosis in 2018.

TGen has an ongoing collaboration with Honor Health in Scottsdale to try and improve treatments for pancreatic cancer. Officials told ABC15 there are currently more than 20 clinical trials ongoing at Honor Health in Scottsdale that focus on pancreatic cancer.