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 diabetes. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the body without damaging surrounding normal tissue.
How it Works
Where the beams converge, focused ultrasound produces several therapeutic effects that are being evaluated. One mechanism is the precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue) of the omentum, which has been used in preclinical studies for better control of blood sugar. A second mechanism is the focused ultrasound-enhanced delivery of drugs. A third mechanism is the use of focused ultrasound to perform targeted neuromodulation. While significant work has been accomplished, there is still much to be done before this technology will be widely available.
The primary options for treatment of diabetes include medication.
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.
A clinical trial delivering pulsed focused ultrasound to the portal region of the liver and to the superior mesenteric plexus is recruiting patients in Connecticut.
An upcoming clinical trial using focused ultrasound to stimulate the vagus nerve and reduce glycemia is organizing in Arizona.
A clinical trial is using low intensity focused ultrasound to help with painful diabetic neuropathy in China.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for diabetes is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
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