Focused Ultrasound Therapy

Early Stage squareFocused ultrasound is an early-stage, noninvasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with bladder tumors. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the body without damaging surrounding normal tissue. Where the beams converge, the ultrasound produces precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue) enabling bladder tumors to be treated without surgery.

One preclinical study in the 1990s found that focused ultrasound could be used to destroy bladder tissue. There has been some recent work looking at the concept of using focused ultrasound to provide organ sparing surgery for patients with bladder cancer at UCLA. This preclinical work showed that one can use focused ultrasound in a transmural, full thickness ablation of an intact bladder wall. Further work needs to be done to demonstrate the impact of these approaches in patient care.

The primary options for treatment of bladder cancer include medication and invasive surgery.

For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications and lower cost.

Advantages:

  • Focused ultrasound is non-invasive, so it does not carry added concerns like surgical wound healing or infection.
  • Focused ultrasound can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue.
  • It can be repeated, if necessary.

Clinical Trials

At the present time, there are no clinical trials recruiting patients for focused ultrasound treatment of bladder tumors.

Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement

Focused ultrasound treatment for bladder tumors is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.

Notable Papers

Weitz AC, Lee NS, Yoon CW, Bonyad A, Goo KS, Kim S, Moon S, Jung H, Zhou Q, Chow RH, Shung KK. Functional Assay of Cancer Cell Invasion Potential Based on Mechanotransduction of Focused Ultrasound. Front Oncol. 2017 Aug 7;7:161. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2017.00161. eCollection 2017.

de Castro Abreu AL, Ukimura O, Shoji S, Leslie S, Chopra S, Marien A, Matsugasumi T, Dharmaraja A, Wong K, Zaba N, Ma Y, Desai MM, Gill IS. Robotic transmural ablation of bladder tumors using high-intensity focused ultrasound: Experimental study. Int J Urol. 2016 Jun;23(6):501-8. doi: 10.1111/iju.13083.

Niedworok C, Shaleva A, Rübben H, Stenzl A. [Organ-sparing treatment of bladder cancer]. Urologe A. 2016 May;55(5):609-14. doi: 10.1007/s00120-016-0086-5. German.

Bastide C, Paparel P, Guillonneau B. Minimally invasive surgery in oncologic urology: a recent review. Curr Opin Urol. 2008;18(2):190-7.

Watkin NA, Morris SB, Rivens IH, Woodhouse CRJ, ter Haar GR. A feasibility study for the non-invasive treatment of superficial bladder tumors with focused ultrasound. Br J Urol. 1996;78(5):715-21.

Click here for additional references from PubMed.

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