Sandeep Arora, MBBS, Assistant Professor of Radiology and Urologic Surgery, has been awarded a Research Scholar Grant by the Radiological Society of North America’s (RSNA) Research & Education (R&E) Foundation for his project, “Analyzing Immune Responses Generated by Transrectal and Transurethral Sono-Ablation of Prostate Cancer using Advanced Quantification Methods.” The grant, which provides $152,000 in funding, will be effective July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2021.
Funding for the project will be used to investigate immune responses generated by two distinct types of therapeutic ultrasound (TUS) currently used in treatment of prostate cancer (PCa). The results will provide initial knowledge about the immunological effects of TUS in humans, and will generate preliminary data for future studies designed to harness immunological effects of TUS in different populations like localized PCa (in-situ vaccination), oligometastatic PCa (cytoreduction and in combination with immunotherapy) and diffuse metastases (as an adjuvant to checkpoint inhibitors).
“Stand-alone immunotherapy has poor response rates in patients with advanced prostate cancer,” said Arora. “Given its ability to generate an immune response and a very favorable side effect profile, TUS is an attractive option to apply in combination with immunotherapeutic drugs like check point inhibitors, hopefully leading to improved response rates.”
Arora said that he is immensely thankful to the RSNA. “The grant will provide me with much needed additional research time to pursue my academic goals, and will produce the data required to develop follow-up grants to various institutions including the National Institutes of Health and the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs,” he added. The R&E Foundation will formally present Arora with the Research Scholar Grant award at RSNA’s Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting in November.
In addition to his clinical role in the Body Imaging section, Arora is actively involved in research projects at the intersection of therapeutic ultrasound, tumor immunology and prostate cancer. He has been previously awarded an RSNA R&E Foundation Seed Grant for another project titled, “Improving Breast Cancer Response to Immunotherapy Using Micro-bubble Enhanced Therapeutic Ultrasound in a Highly Aggressive 4R1 Murine Breast Cancer Model.”