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Focused Ultrasound Therapy

Focused ultrasound is a noninvasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with atherosclerosis. 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 a variety of biological effects enabling atherosclerosis to be treated without surgery. While significant preclinical work has been accomplished, there is still much to be done before this technology will be widely available.

How it Works
The mechanism of action is to use focused ultrasound to disrupt or fracture the atherosclerotic plaques that exist within the arteries of patients.

The primary options for treatment of atherosclerosis include medication, minimally invasive procedures and major surgery. For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications – such as surgical wound healing or infection – at a lower cost.  Focused ultrasound can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue, and it can be repeated, if necessary.

Clinical Trials

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

See a full list of atherosclerosis clinical trials >

See a list of laboratory research sites >

Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement

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

Notable Papers

Zhang C, Wu Y, Zhang Q, Zhang M, Zhang D. The impact of ischemic vascular stenosis on LIPU hyperthermia efficacy investigated Based on in vivo rabbit limb ischemia model. Ultrasonics. 2024 Feb 10;138:107263. doi: 10.1016/j.ultras.2024.107263. PMID: 38350312 

Nie C, A R, Wang J, Pan S, Zou R, Wang B, Xi S, Hong X, Zhou M, Wang H, Yu M, Wu L, Sun X, Yang W. Controlled Release of Hydrogen-Carrying Perfluorocarbons for Ischemia Myocardium-Targeting 19 F MRI-Guided Reperfusion Injury Therapy. Adv Sci (Weinh). 2023 Aug 18:e2304178. doi: 10.1002/advs.202304178.

Imtiaz C, Farooqi MA, Bhatti T, Lee J, Moin R, Kang CU, Farooqi HMU. Focused Ultrasound, an Emerging Tool for Atherosclerosis Treatment: A Comprehensive Review. Life (Basel). 2023 Aug 21;13(8):1783. doi: 10.3390/life13081783.

Kim H, Wu H, Chen M, Dai X, Zhou R, Jiang X. Intravascular Sono-Ablation for In-Stent Restenosis Relief: Transducer Development and the In-Vitro Demonstration. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2023 Jul;70(7):2172-2180. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2023.3238679. Epub 2023 Jun 19. PMID: 37022452 

Ren F, Sui Y, Gong X, Xing Q, Wang Z. High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound in Interventricular Septal Myocardial Ablation. Int Heart J. 2022 Nov 30;63(6):1158-1165. doi: 10.1536/ihj.22-162. Epub 2022 Nov 12. 

Jiang N, Wang Z, Deng Q, Zhou Y, Cao S, Zhou Q, Chen J, Guo R, Hu B. Low-intensity focused ultrasound guided dodecafluoropentane-loaded acoustic phase-change nanoparticles for treatment of porcine coronary microthromboembolism. Int J Cardiol. 2022 Oct 5:S0167-5273(22)01465-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2022.09.078. 

Wang S, Gao Z, Yang Y, Zhang Q, Huang J, Wang B, Lei S, Tan Q, Liu D, Guo L, Song Y, Liu J, Ma T, Tian Y. Sonodynamic Therapy with Concentric Ultrasound Imaging Array for Precision Theranostics for Atherosclerotic Plaque. IEEE Trans Ultrason Ferroelectr Freq Control. 2022 Oct 21;PP. doi: 10.1109/TUFFC.2022.3215436. 

Simons MV, Groen MHA, de Borst GJ, Leiner T, Doevendans PAF, Ebbini E, Slieker FJB, van Es R, Hazenberg CEVB. Safety and feasibility study of non-invasive robot-assisted high-intensity focused ultrasound therapy for the treatment of atherosclerotic plaques in the femoral artery: protocol for a pilot study.BMJ Open. 2022 May 2;12(5):e058418. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-058418 

Sotiriou M, Yiannakou M, Damianou C. Investigating atherosclerotic plaque phantoms for ultrasound therapy. J Ultrasound. 2022 Sep;25(3):709-720. doi: 10.1007/s40477-022-00658-3. Epub 2022 Jan 31. 

Hou J, Zhou J, Chang M, Bao G, Xu J, Ye M, Zhong Y, Liu S, Wang J, Zhang W, Ran H, Wang Z, Chen Y, Guo D. LIFU-responsive nanomedicine enables acoustic droplet vaporization-induced apoptosis of macrophages for stabilizing vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques. Bioact Mater. 2022 Mar 3;16:120-133. doi: 10.1016/j.bioactmat.2022.02.022. eCollection 2022 Oct. PMID: 35386311 

Yao J, Yang Z, Huang L, Yang C, Wang J, Cao Y, Hao L, Zhang L, Zhang J, Li P, Wang Z, Sun Y, Ran H. Low-Intensity Focused Ultrasound-Responsive Ferrite-Encapsulated Nanoparticles for Atherosclerotic Plaque Neovascularization Theranostics. Adv Sci (Weinh). 2021 Aug 11:e2100850. doi: 10.1002/advs.202100850. 

Su X, Rakshit M, Das P, Gupta I, Das D, Pramanik M, Ng KW, Kwan J. Ultrasonic Implantation and Imaging of Sound-Sensitive Theranostic Agents for the Treatment of Arterial Inflammation. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2021 May 21. doi: 10.1021/acsami.1c01161. 

Lei W, Hu J, Liu Y, Liu W, Chen X. Numerical evaluation of high-intensity focused ultrasound- induced thermal lesions in atherosclerotic plaques. Math Biosci Eng. 2021 Jan 12;18(2):1154-1168. doi: 10.3934/mbe.2021062. 

Jang KW, Tu TW, Rosenblatt RB, Burks SR, Frank JA. MR-guided pulsed focused ultrasound improves mesenchymal stromal cell homing to the myocardium. J Cell Mol Med. 2020 Oct 17. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.15944. 

Bai S, Liao J, Zhang B, Zhao M, You B, Li P, Ran H, Wang Z, Shi R, Zhang G. Biomater Multimodal and multifunctional nanoparticles with platelet targeting ability and phase transition efficiency for the molecular imaging and thrombolysis of coronary microthrombi. Sci. 2020 Aug 24. doi: 10.1039/d0bm00818d. 

Ye M, Zhou J, Zhong Y, Xu J, Hou J, Wang X, Wang Z, Guo D. SR-A-Targeted Phase-Transition Nanoparticles for the Detection and Treatment of Atherosclerotic Vulnerable Plaques. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2019 Mar 1. doi: 10.1021/acsami.8b18190. 
Click here for additional references from PubMed. 

Early Stage