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 tumors of the esophagus. 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 production of precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue) with the goal of either completely or partially destroying the tumor tissue. Partial treatment is believed to stimulate the patient’s immune response, which may have a broader impact. Another mechanism of action is to pre-treat the tumor with pulsed focused ultrasound which may enable improved therapeutic absorption.
The primary option for treatment of esophageal tumors is invasive surgery, although radiation, chemotherapy or other pharmaceuticals may also be used.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications – like surgical wound healing or infection – at a lower cost. Focused ultrasound can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue, and it could also enhance the chemotherapy dose for the target, with less impact to the rest of the patient. It can also be repeated, if necessary.
A clinical trial is recruiting patients with solid tumors with metastatic lesions, including esophageal cancer, at the University of Virginia.
See a full list of esophageal tumor clinical trials.
See here for a list of treatment sites
See here for a list of clinical trials sites
See here for a list of laboratory research sites
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for head and neck tumors is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
Palmeri ML, Frinkley KD, Zhai L, Gottfried M, Bentley RC, Ludwig K, Nightingale KR. Acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging of the gastrointestinal tract. Ultrason Imaging. 2005 Apr;27(2):75-88. doi: 10.1177/016173460502700202.
Click here for additional references from PubMed.