Riverside Research Partnership Aims To Improve Accuracy of Lymph Node Cancer Detection

NEW YORK, NY – Riverside Research, a not-for-profit research organization founded nearly 50 years ago, has entered a key stage in the development of an ultrasonic method for detecting cancer in lymph nodes that could dramatically improve the accuracy of cancer staging and significantly improve treatment decisions and delivery.

In partnership with GE Global Research and Stony Brook Medicine in New York and Kuakini Medical Center in Hawaii, Riverside Research is now entering the second year of a $4 million, five-year, academic-industrial partnership (AIP) funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health awarded to Dr. Ernest Feleppa, the Principal Investigator of the AIP and Research Director at the Riverside Research Lizzi Center for Biomedical Engineering. This study will develop and refine methods of using quantitative ultrasound (QUS) and 3D imaging to identify cancers in lymph nodes that would be missed using conventional methods.

“Current procedures to detect cancer in lymph nodes require removal and microscopic examination of the nodes. However, examination is limited to the center region of each node, which can overlook small, but clinically significant, cancers that are not centrally located. Fortunately, Riverside Research scientists have developed a QUS-based method that depicts the entire lymph node in 3D and uses color to indicate regions that contain cancer foci anywhere in the node, even off-center foci that would have been missed using conventional methods,” says Dr. Feleppa.

“This approach can also eliminate unnecessary microscopic examination of cancer-free nodes. Analyzing dissected nodes with our new methods will permit doctors to plan treatments more effectively and to employ time and resources far more efficiently in the pathology laboratory,” adds Dr. Feleppa.

Riverside Research and its AIP partners are basing these new studies on encouraging results derived from an exhaustive nine-year study that has just been completed by scientists at the Lizzi Center. Also supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health awarded to Dr. Feleppa, the completed study established the reliability and effectiveness of QUS in guiding pathologists to cancers within dissected lymph nodes.

“Our scientists have been proving the effectiveness of QUS in detecting cancers for more than 30 years and continue to create innovative methods that reduce the cost of care and improve patient outcomes,” says Dr. Feleppa. “We are excited about the prospect of improving current procedures for detecting cancers that have spread to lymph nodes, but our team now is focused on applying these methods to detecting cancer in nodes while they remain within the body. Evaluating lymph nodes without surgical removal would expedite staging and avoid unnecessary excisions of cancer-free lymph nodes,” Dr. Feleppa highlights.