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 melanoma. 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 precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue). This destruction can be done to completely destroy the target or to partially treat it, and partial treatment is believed to stimulate the patient’s immune response, which may have a broader impact.
The primary options for treatment of melanoma include invasive surgery.
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. Focused ultrasound also enables a enhanced chemotherapy dose for the target, with less impact to the rest of the patient.
A clinical trial is recruiting patients with solid tumors with metastatic lesions, including melanoma, at the University of Virginia.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for melanoma is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
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