- Last Updated: June 27, 2018
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 sacral chordomas. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the brain without damaging surrounding normal tissue. Where the beams converge, the ultrasound produces precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue) enabling sacral chordomas to be treated without surgery.
Focused ultrasound has been used to treat four patients with sacral chordomas in England with encouraging results. The researchers report tumor volume was reduced over time in three patients for whom follow up scans were available. Tumor necrosis was documented in two out of the three patients.
The primary options for treatment of sacral chordomas include invasive surgery.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications and lower cost.
- Focused ultrasound is noninvasive, so it does not carry added concerns like surgical wound healing or infection.
- Focused ultrasound can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue.
- It can be repeated, if necessary.
At the present time, there are no clinical trials recruiting patients for focused ultrasound treatment of sacral chordomas.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for sacral chordoma is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
Gillies MJ, Lyon PC, Wu F, Leslie T, Chung DY, Gleeson F, Cranston D, Bojanic S. High-intensity focused ultrasonic ablation of sacral chordoma is feasible: a series of four cases and details of a national clinical trial. Br J Neurosurg. 2016 Dec 12:1-6.
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