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 gastric tumors. 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) that can be done to completely destroy the target or to partially treat it. Partial treatment is believed to stimulate the patient’s immune response, which may have a broader impact. Another mechanism is to produce a targeted delivery of therapeutics to the tumor. This allows delivery of a higher level of chemotherapy precisely to the targeted tissue, while limiting the effects for the rest of the body.
The primary options for treatment of gastric tumors invasive surgery or medications.
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. It can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue and is repeatable, if necessary.
A clinical trial is recruiting patients with solid tumors with metastatic lesions, including gastric cancer, at the University of Virginia.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for gastric tumors has not been approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
Zhou B, He N, Hong J, Yang T, Ng DM, Gao X, Yan K, Fan X, Zheng Z, Chen P, Zheng J, Zheng Q. HIFU for the treatment of gastric cancer with liver metastases with unsuitable indications for hepatectomy and radiofrequency ablation: a prospective and propensity score-matched study. BMC Surg. 2021 Jul 12;21(1):308. doi: 10.1186/s12893-021-01307-y.
Liu Z, Ran H, Wang Z, Zhou S, Wang Y. Targeted and pH-facilitated theranostic of orthotopic gastric cancer via phase-transformation doxorubicin-encapsulated nanoparticles enhanced by low-intensity focused ultrasound (LIFU) with reduced side effect. Int J Nanomedicine. 2019 Sep 18;14:7627-7642. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S212888. eCollection 2019.
Cheng CS, Chen L, Xie J, Chen Z. Multimodality palliative treatment with transarterial chemoembolization and high-intensity focused ultrasound for gastric leiomyosarcoma multiple liver metastasis pain: A case report. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Sep;98(39):e17328. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000017328.
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