Researchers in the Technion’s Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering and Rappaport Technion Integrated Cancer Center have developed a new patented technology to treat tumors. They estimate it could accelerate the development of personalized treatments for various types of cancer.  

Typical cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, often cause serious side effects, because in addition to attacking the cancerous cells, they damage healthy ones. Moreover, certain types of cancer don’t respond well to chemotherapy.  

Professor Alejandro Sosnik and doctoral student Ivan Zlotver have developed a treatment that combines sonodynamic therapy with a special formula of nanoparticles. Sonodynamic therapy is a noninvasive treatment that uses ultrasound to target sensitive nanomaterials accumulated in the cancerous tissue to treat deep-seated tumors. The researchers developed hybrid nanoparticles that enable physiochemical stability in human tissue, high responsiveness to ultrasound, and an improved ability to kill cancerous cells. 

They tested their formula on mice models with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare type of cancer that grows in soft tissue – often starting in muscle tissue – which doesn’t respond well to chemotherapy. The scientists were able to shrink and delay the growth of the tumors and increase the animals’ lifespan. Additionally, the treatment causes no damage to healthy cells or adverse effects.  

The research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation and the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute at the Technion.