The Need for Monitoring of Immunotherapies
Despite billions of dollars in investment and decades of research, cancer remains one of the leading causes of death. Until recently, treating cancer meant using the three pillars of cancer treatment: surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. A new treatment pillar known as immunotherapy has recently emerged from the research lab and into the clinic, fundamentally changing the treatment landscape. Immunotherapies have already shown impressive results in curing blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma but have had less success in treating solid tumors such as lung, pancreatic, and brain cancers. Unfortunately, solid tumors account for more than 90% of cancer deaths.
A significant obstacle holding back immunotherapy progress in solid tumors is the absence of a timely diagnostic for assessing if a patient’s immunotherapy treatment regimen is working. Blood tests do not show what is happening inside the solid tumor. Biopsies are challenging to perform and may not represent the heterogeneous nature of cancer. The result is that clinicians have little to inform the time-critical decision of if and when to adjust a treatment regimen. The difficulty is further compounded by the complexity of treatment regimens – when multiple drugs are administered simultaneously, which ones are working?
Magnetic Insight's Immunotherapy Monitoring Solution
Magnetic Insight is pioneering a solution to this problem using a new medical imaging technique called Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI), which can detect unique biocompatible tracers with exceptional sensitivity. By binding these tracers to immunotherapies or the patient’s immune system, MPI technology can rapidly deliver images showing how a patient’s immune system responds to therapy.
The MPI workflow is simple. After diagnosis and starting treatment, we prepare the patient for imaging by administering a non-toxic MPI tracer. We then perform MPI imaging with a non-invasive, magnet-based imager with a patient experience similar to X-ray/CT. The physician then reads the MPI scan to see if the immunotherapy regimen is successful or needs to be refined. If the patient’s treatment needs to be refined, MPI can be performed after each treatment change. After successful treatment, we can also use MPI to monitor for recurrence. MPI technology does not use any ionizing radiation, and the biocompatible tracer is naturally cleared from the body.