Over the past decades, little progress has been made to improve the extremely low survival rates in pancreatic cancer patients. Extreme hypoxia observed in pancreatic tumors contributes to the aggressive and metastatic characteristics of this tumor and can reduce the effectiveness of conventional radiation therapy and chemotherapy. In an attempt to reduce hypoxia-induced obstacles to effective radiation treatment, we used a novel device, the implantable micro-oxygen generator (IMOG), for in situ tumor oxygenation. After subcutaneous implantation of human pancreatic xenograft tumors in athymic rats, the IMOG was wirelessly powered by ultrasonic waves, producing 30 μA of direct current (at 2.5 V), which was then utilized to electrolyze water and produce oxygen within the tumor. Significant oxygen production by the IMOG was observed and corroborated using the NeoFox oxygen sensor dynamically. To test the radiosensitization effect of the newly generated oxygen, the human pancreatic xenograft tumors were subcutaneously implanted in nude mice with either a functional or inactivated IMOG device. The tumors in the mice were then exposed to ultrasonic power for 10 min, followed by a single fraction of 5 Gy radiation, and tumor growth was monitored thereafter. The 5 Gy irradiated tumors containing the functional IMOG exhibited tumor growth inhibition equivalent to that of 7 Gy irradiated tumors that did not contain an IMOG. Our study confirmed that an activated IMOG is able to produce sufficient oxygen to radiosensitize pancreatic tumors, enhancing response to single-dose radiation therapy.
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