Celsion Corporation has announced that its ongoing collaboration with Costas Arvanitis of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, has been expanded through the recent award of a US$1 million Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB).
The grant will support preclinical studies evaluating ThermoDox, the company’s heat-activated liposomal encapsulation of doxorubicin, in combination with High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU), for the treatment of brain tumours. The grant, titled “Controlled Delivery and Release of Chemotherapy in Brain Tumours with FUS” provides on average of US$200,000 in annual funding for five years, and will be used to advance preclinical development of ThermoDox for the treatment of brain cancers, including glioblastoma multiforme, under the company’s January 2014 collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
“This peer-reviewed grant award builds upon our ongoing collaborative work to explore treatments for brain tumours,” says Costas D Arvanitis, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. “Delivering chemotherapeutic agents across the blood-brain barrier is particularly challenging, but in recent years we have discovered that this could be achieved using focused ultrasound, including enhanced delivery of liposomal doxorubicin. We are hopeful that this grant will allow us to determine the potential utility of a promising therapeutic application for one of the most insidious cancers – glioblastoma.”
“Glioblastoma is a highly aggressive and deadly form of brain cancer for which there are few treatment options,” says Michael H Tardugno, Celsion’s president and chief executive officer. “Working with a prominent cancer research group like Dr Arvanitis and his team, combined with the financial support of the NIH, will help accelerate the research required to elucidate the potential of ThermoDox combined with HIFU in this difficult to treat cancer, and provide a path forward for larger, more comprehensive phase II studies.”
If promising results are obtained from these phase I studies, a phase II grant application will be submitted to include more comprehensive studies of ThermoDox and HIFU for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme brain tumours.