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High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)

Also known as: Ablatherm device, Sonablate 500 device (SB500)

Summary
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, HIFU, is a non-invasive therapy that uses focused ultrasound to generate precise areas of intense heat to destroy tumours, while leaving surrounding tissue unaffected. This therapy has been studied for around 50 years, with recent developments allowing use on tumours of the liver, kidney, bone, pancreatic, prostate and other areas. It has minimal or no side effects and can be safely repeated if necessary.
Description
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound or HIFU, uses high energy, high frequency, focused sound waves to destroy precise volumes of tissue within a tumour without damaging surrounding structures. This pulse of high energy ultrasound can be focused onto a single location the size of a grain of rice. When directed at a delivery point, the temperature increases, causing the fats (lipids) in the cell membrane to melt and the proteins to denature, destroying a small volume of tissue. With the treatment of prostate cancer, targeting can be planned in order to preserve the vital structures around the glands that are involved in preservation of continence and erectile function.

HIFU treatment can stimulate the immune system which can, on its own, have an effect on tumours that have not been directly targeted.

Small tumours can be destroyed in one session, but often large tumours require more sessions. In some cases there are advantages in combining HIFU with other medical treatments. Sessions are followed up with MRI scans to confirm tumour destruction.

With HIFU, there has been no evidence of side effects. Occasionally the skin is affected with a mild sunburn effect which clears up after a few days. The use of anaesthetic eliminates any discomfort allowing the patient to keep still during treatment.

History
Ultrasound transducers were first developed by P. Langevin during the 20th century. He used the piezoelectric properties of quartz crystal to construct the first submarine sonar. In the 1940s, the first investigations of HIFU for non-invasive ablation were reported by Lynn et al. During the 1940s and 1960s, important work was performed by William and Francis Fry at Illinois University. This culminated in clinical treatments of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Using a set of ultrasound transducers, which were focused on an area to be treated, tiny biological lesions located deep within the cerebral cortex could be reached.

Until recently, there have only been a few clinical trials of HIFU for ablation (although significant work in hyperthermia has been performed using ultrasonic heating). This was perhaps due to the complexity of the treatment and the difficulty of targeting the ultrasonic beam non-invasively. Due to recent advances in ultrasound technology and medical imaging, there has been an increase in interest in HIFU ablation of tumours.

 
Notes
Case studies for further reading: http://www.jtultrasound.com/content/1/1/9. High-intensity focused ultrasound provides palliation for liver metastasis causing gastric outlet obstruction: case report. Surgery is the standard of care in several oncologic diseases. However, when non-surgical candidates are not suitable for radical treatment, palliation must be achieved at least. High-intensity focused ultrasound uses ultrasound power that can be sharply focused for highly localised application, as it is a completely non-invasive procedure. Its non-invasiveness appears to be of paramount importance in critically ill patients. http://www.jtultrasound.com/content/1/1/9. Click here to read more http://prostatecancerinfolink.net/2013/03/04/hifu-outcomes-in-germany-after-an-average-of-8-years-of-follow-up/. HIFU outcomes in Germany after an average of 8 years of follow-up. Researchers at the University of Regensburg in Germany have just reported progression-free survival data from their 14-year experience of using high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) in the treatment of localised prostate cancer. This research group was one of the first to start testing the use of HIFU in the treatment of prostate cancer. http://prostatecancerinfolink.net/2013/03/04/hifu-outcomes-in-germany-after-an-average-of-8-years-of-follow-up/ Click here to read more
 

Providers

Dr. Stefan Throff is a specialist in urology and expert in non-invasive treatment of prostate cancer. For over 25 years he has worked in the Dept. of Read More
With over 300 specialists, St Vincents Clinic provides a comprehensive range of investigative, diagnostic and therapeutic medical services Read More
The Sussex Cancer Centre is situated in the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton. It serves a population of approximately one million across the Read More
Prostate cancer treatment using high intensity focused Read More
Specialised urological services centre on the delivery of care to prostate patients. It is an internationally recognised centre for prostate Read More
The King George Hospital NHS Foundation Trust provides a highly skilled and specialist urology service. This includes a Urology Diagnostic Unit and Read More
Our medical team is led by five urology consultants specialising in both medical management (the diagnosis, investigation and treatment) as well as Read More
The Wellington Urology Unit offers specialist medical care for patients with conditions affecting the bladder and prostate. Our team of specialist Read More
The HIFU Clinic provides effective minimally invasive treatment for localised prostate cancer. HIFU Clinic is a professional medical centre for the Read More
Prostate cancer treatment using high intensity focused Read More
Steppling Hill Hospital has a wide range of expertise covering all subspecialty areas of urology. Hospital offers a complete urological cancer Read More
Prostate cancer treatment using high intensity focused Read More
Prostate cancer treatment using high intensity focused Read More
In prostate cancer diagnostics we aim to provide Urologists and their patients with precision diagnostics such that nuanced care decisions can be Read More
HIFU Clinic is a professional medical centre for the diagnostics and treatment of prostate cancer. The dedicated Medical Team encompasses a variety Read More