Sound Used to Treat Metastatic Breast Cancer

By Hillary Eames
Monday, January 6, 2020

Researchers at Tohoku University have found a new form of targeted drug release for metastatic breast cancer patients using sound waves.

Current methods of treating metastasized breast cancer are invasive and can cause severe side effects; however, by treating lymph node metastases, disease prognosis could improve. Biomedical engineers and other researchers have discovered a way to use sound waves to deliver medication to the lymphatic system and treat metastatic breast cancer in the bodies of mice with invasive metastases from breast cancer.

Study Methods and Results

Researchers injected vesicles carrying anticancer drugs into a pelvic lymph node. The vesicles were carried through the lymphatic system to metastasized lymph nodes in the armpit. High-powered ultrasound was then applied to the lymph nodes in the armpits of the mice on the day of the injection and three days afterward, causing the vesicles to burst and provide targeted drug release to the affected lymph nodes. By examining excised lymph nodes and monitoring cancer growth through bioluminescence, researchers demonstrated that the treatment effectively killed cancerous tissues.

While further research is necessary to determine the optimal injection rate and volume of treatment, researchers from Tohoku University are hopeful that the technique may be developed to treat metastatic lymph nodes.