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 biliary tract 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 production of precise ablation, or thermal destruction of tissue, with the goal of complete or partial ablation of the cancer. Partial ablation may allow better placement of a biliary stent. A second mechanism is the use of focused ultrasound to activate sonosensitizer therapeutics, such as epirubicin. The combination of focused ultrasound and epirubicin results in the formation of a cytotoxic reactive oxygen molecules in the region of the tumor.
The primary options for treatment for malignancies of the biliary tract include chemotherapy, but radiation therapy or surgery can also be used.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide an enhanced method of chemotherapy treatment or a noninvasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications – such as surgical wound healing, surgical complications, or anesthesia – at a lower cost. The sonodynamic approach can enhance the chemotherapy levels in the desired region, while minimizing the exposure of the rest of the body. Furthermore, the approach can be repeated, if necessary.
Researchers in Japan are using sonodynamic therapy to activate chemotherapeutic agents in patients with biliary tract cancer.
At the present time, there are no other clinical trials recruiting patients for biliary duct tumors treatments.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for biliary duct tumors is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
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