Working to make life more normal
We are committed to providing hope in the face of despair by developing sonodynamic therapy (SDT) to be a safe and effective treatment for cancer.
SonALAsense is pursuing a Pipeline of indications utilizing SDT to treat cancer.
Our goal is to turn cancer from a deadly to a chronic disease—
cancer patients into cancer survivors.
The Reason for Our Commitment
Our 30-Year Journey Continues
Glioma cells, bladder cancer cells, skin cancer cells and other cancer cells have been shown to have a special need for a compound called aminolevulinic acid (ALA). When these cancer cells were given large amounts of ALA, they glowed pink when exposed to blue light. This finding led to ALA becoming a commercially available product (Gleolan®) that is used as a visual aid by neurosurgeons to help them identify and surgically remove aggressive brain tumors. Another ALA product (Cysview®) is used by urologists to identify bladder cancer cells that are otherwise difficult to find.
We knew more than 30 years ago that the same byproduct of ALA that made cancer cells glow could be activated to kill the cancer cells using high-energy light in a process called photodynamic therapy (PDT, see Our Science). PDT has a rapid onset of action and minimal effects on normal brain cells. Unfortunately, as we tried to develop PDT to treat brain tumors we found that it required invasive and complex light delivery techniques making it difficult to develop. When it was reported that the same PDT process could be activated noninvasively using MR-guided focused ultrasound to produce light within the brain (sonodynamic therapy, SDT), we founded SonALAsense to bring this new, noninvasive cancer-specific treatment to patients as soon as possible.
The SonALAsense SDT Procedure
After the patient intravenously receives a dose of the drug, SONALA-001, the MRI is used to focus ultrasound waves from the approximately 1,000 ultrasound-generating transducers in the helmet over the entire tumor volume, creating light through a process called sonoluminescence. The light is thought to activate a byproduct of SONALA-001 to create a “smart bomb” that triggers immediate and programmed cell death only in cancer cells.
Video courtesy of Ivy Brain Tumor Center
Clinical trials now recruiting, Contact Us to learn more about eligibility.
Recent Positive Proof of Concept with SDT in Phase 0/1 Clinical Trial in Recurrent High Grade Gliomas (rHGG)
The Ivy Brain Tumor Center at Barrow Neurological Institute, the largest early-phase drug development program for brain cancer in the world, and SonALAsense have announced positive proof of concept of the first-in-human Phase 0/1 clinical trial of SDT in recurrent high-grade glioma patients. The initial results indicate SDT rapidly leads to targeted cell death in human glioma tissue. SDT was well-tolerated in all patients.
SonALAsense’s SDT is a noninvasive targeted combination of a drug (SONALA-001) and MR-guided focused ultrasound. We are the first SDT company in clinical trials.