- Last Updated: September 1, 2017
Focused Ultrasound Therapy
Focused ultrasound is an early stage, noninvasive therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with pancreatic cancer. 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 therapeutic effects enabling the patient to be treated without incisions or radiation.
Current treatment options for pancreatic cancer include combinations of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, embolization or other ablative methods, yet these are not effective for many patients. Focused ultrasound – used alone and in combination with other therapies – is being investigated to treat pancreatic cancer and the pain associated with the disease. Focused ultrasound has the potential to achieve symptomatic relief by improving the resection of the tumor prior to surgery, by reducing tumor size and spread, and by reduction in overall tumor pain.
- Focused ultrasound is non-invasive and therefore has reduced risk for infection and blood clots, and shorter recovery time.
- Precise targeting minimizes damage to non-targeted healthy tissue.
- No ionizing radiation, enabling repeat treatment if necessary.
- Treatment can be a complement to drug therapy, enabling enhanced delivery of chemotherapy or immunotherapy to tumors.
- May potentially induce an anti-tumor immune response.
The University of Roma La Sapienza is leading a study to assess the feasibility and clinical performance of focused ultrasound ablation of unresectable pancreatic cancer in pain palliation and tumor control.
The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is working with leading sites to implement a registry to capture data from pancreatic cancer patients to help guide future decisions about optimal clinical care, safety and regulatory factors, and reimbursement concerns. The goal of this registry is to capture early data to expedite the availability of focused ultrasound improvements for patient care as soon as possible.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
The Model JC system manufactured by Chongqing Haifu has been approved in Europe for palliative treatment in patients with pancreatic cancer.
Focused ultrasound treatment for patients with pancreatic cancer is not universally reimbursed by medical insurers.
Pre-clinical Laboratory Studies
Pre-clinical studies are underway to investigate the use of non-ablation mechanisms of focused ultrasound in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Examples of these studies include:
- Focused ultrasound to induce an immune response that could be combined with immunotherapeutics to treat both local and systemic disease.
- Focused ultrasound to enable targeted delivery and/or activation of drugs via carrier vehicles (e.g. microbubbles, nanoparticles, liposomes) to enable delivery of high concentrations in the tumor with minimal systemic side effects.
Additional ResourcesPancreatic Cancer Action Network
National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation
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Strunk HM, Henseler J, Rauch M, Mücke M, Kukuk G, Cuhls H, Radbruch L, Zhang L, Schild HH, Marinova M. Clinical Use of High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) for Tumor and Pain Reduction in Advanced Pancreatic Cancer. Rofo. 2016 Jul;188(7):662-70. doi: 10.1055/s-0042-105517.
Ning ZY, Cheng CS, Xie J, Chen QW, Xu LT, Zhuang LP, Zhang CY, Song LB, Shi WD, Zhu XY, Wang P, Wang K, Meng ZQ. A retrospective analysis of survival factors of high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) treatment for unresectable pancreatic cancer. Discov Med. 2016 Jun;21(118):435-45.
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Click here for additional references from PubMed.