You are here

Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of non-invasive sonodynamic therapy for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R44CA261516-01A1
Agency Tracking Number: R44CA261516
Amount: $938,955.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 102
Solicitation Number: PA20-262
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-05-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-04-30
Small Business Information
2600 10TH ST STE 435
Berkeley, CA 94710-3105
United States
DUNS: 116975949
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (914) 649-3212
Business Contact
Phone: (914) 649-3212
Research Institution

Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas (DIPG) are rare and deadly pediatric brain tumors. They are extremely
aggressive tumors that are found in the pons, which controls many of the body's most vital functions such as
breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate. There is no currently effective means of treatment for DIPG, and the
median survival is 7-11 months after diagnosis. Thus, there is significant need for a method to effectively treat
DIPG. To address this unmet need, SonALAsense is developing sonodynamic therapy (SDT), a non-invasive
drug-device combination, to treat DIPG. SDT uses an MRI-Guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) device in
combination with a drug called 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA). Three independent laboratories have demonstrated
the safety and efficacy of ALA SDT in animal glioma models where the animals were dosed first with ALA and
then treated with MRgFUS at energies that do not raise brain temperature. MRgFUS activated Protoporphyrin
IX (PpIX), a metabolite of ALA, created singlet oxygen that induced necrosis and apoptosis in the glioma in a
process similar to photodynamic therapy. Activation of PpIX non-invasively caused regression of the gliomas
and extended survival. The goal of this Direct to Phase II program is to provide safety and efficacy data on the
best MRgFUS energy doses to use with 10 mg/kg intravenous (IV) ALA for subsequent clinical trials of ALA SDT
in DIPG. This will be accomplished through the execution of 3 Aims. In Aim 1, we will develop sensitive assays
to detect ALA and PpIX in small blood sample volumes. In Aim 2, we will determine blood plasma
pharmacokinetics (PK) of ALA metabolism and PpIX synthesis following IV dosing as this is the first time an IV
formulation of ALA will be used for therapeutic purposes in children, and it is important to understand possible
differences in PK between pediatric and adult subjects. In Aim 3, we will determine the safety and efficacy of
ALA SDT in DIPG patients using a single IV dose of ALA while using 3 ascending MRgFUS energy dose cohorts.
This will help determine both the maximum tolerated energy dose in DIPG patients and the recommended Phase
2 dose of MRgFUS energy in combination with 10 mg/kg IV ALA. Successful completion of this proposal will
inform a drug dose ranging study. Completion of these trials are critical to proceed to the next stage of clinical
development, in which DIPG patients will receive SDT therapy on a monthly basis to attempt to maximize effects
on survival of these patients using a safe IV dose of ALA in combination with an optimal dose of MRgFUS. The
goal of this development program is to obtain the clinical data necessary for FDA marketing approval and to
commercialize this combination therapy for DIPG patients who have no therapeutic options. ALA SDT has the
potential to be the first successful treatment for DIPG and for the first time in medical history parents of children
with DIPG would not only have hope that the life of their child could be extended, but also the comfort that the
combination therapy used is noninvasive and has extremely tolerable side effects.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government