Liver Fibrosis

Last Updated:

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 liver fibrosis. 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 two therapeutic effects that are being evaluated. One mechanism is precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue). A second mechanism is to use focused ultrasound to enhanced the delivery of genetic therapy to treat liver fibrosis. This technique was successful in preclinical studies but has not yet been translated to the clinic.

The primary options for treatment of liver fibrosis include medication and may eventually include liver transplantation.

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.

Clinical Trials

At the present time, there are no clinical trials recruiting patients for focused ultrasound treatment of liver fibrosis.

Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement

Focused ultrasound treatment for liver fibrosis is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.

Notable Papers

Payen T, Palermo CF, Sastra SA, Chen H, Han Y, Olive KP, Konofagou EE. Elasticity mapping of murine abdominal organs in vivo using harmonic motion imaging (HMI). Phys Med Biol. 2016 Aug 7;61(15):5741-54. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/61/15/5741. Epub 2016 Jul 12.

Anzidei M, Napoli A, Sandolo F, Marincola BC, Di Martino M, Berloco P, Bosco S, Bezzi M, Catalano C. Magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound ablation in abdominal moving organs: a feasibility study in selected cases of pancreatic and liver cancer. Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol. 2014 Dec;37(6):1611-7. doi: 10.1007/s00270-014-0861-x. Epub 2014 Mar 5.

Huang G, Zhang H, Bai R. R Bai. Advances in ultrasound-targeted microbubble–mediated gene therapy for liver fibrosis. Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B Volume 7, Issue 4, July 2017, Pages 447-452.

Rauch M, Marinova M, Schild HH, Strunk H. High intensity focused ultrasound for the treatment of advanced liver cancer. Dig Liver Dis. 2015 Nov;47(11):989-90. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2015.06.016. Epub 2015 Jul 6.

Click here for additional references from PubMed.

Early Stage