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Focused Ultrasound Therapy

Focused ultrasound is a rapidly evolving, 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

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.

Almekkaway MK, Shehata IA, Ebbini ES. Anatomical-based model for simulation of HIFU-induced lesions in atherosclerotic plaques. Int J Hyperthermia. 2015 Jun;31(4):433-42. doi: 10.3109/02656736.2015.1018966.

Xu S, Zong Y, Feng Y, Liu R, Liu X, Hu Y, Han S, Wan M. Dependence of pulsed focused ultrasound induced thrombolysis on duty cycle and cavitation bubble size distribution. Ultrason Sonochem. 2014 Jul 9. pii: S1350-4177(14)00227-2. doi: 10.1016/j.ultsonch.2014.06.024.

Hölscher T, Ahadi G, Fisher D, Zadicario E, Voie A. MR-guided focused ultrasound for acute stroke: a rabbit model. Stroke. 2013 Jun;44(6 Supp 1):S58-60.

Lapchak PA, Kikuchi K, Butte P, Hölscher T. Development of transcranial sonothrombolysis as an alternative stroke therapy: incremental scientific advances toward overcoming substantial barriers. Expert Rev Med Devices. 2013 Mar;10(2):201-13.

Click here for additional references from PubMed.

Early Stage