• A research team led by Zhen Xu, PhD, recently published preclinical work investigating whether partial histotripsy ablation could result in complete tumor regression in a model of liver cancer.
  • The group also evaluated survival, immune response, and risk of metastases.
  • Histotripsy significantly improved survival and increased immune infiltration of the treated and untreated tumors.

Key Points

  • A research team led by Zhen Xu, PhD, recently published preclinical work investigating whether partial histotripsy ablation could result in complete tumor regression in a model of liver cancer.
  • The group also evaluated survival, immune response, and risk of metastases.
  • Histotripsy significantly improved survival and increased immune infiltration of the treated and untreated tumors.

Zhen Xu histotripsy transducerImpact of Histotripsy on Development of Intrahepatic Metastases in a Rodent Liver Tumor Model
A research team led by Zhen Xu, PhD, at the University of Michigan (U-M) recently published preclinical work investigating whether using ultrasound-guided histotripsy to ablate up to 75% of a hepatocellular carcinoma liver tumor could result in complete regression of the untreated tumor. Histotripsy is a precise, nonthermal mechanism of focused ultrasound that ablates tissue with acoustic cavitation energy. The group also evaluated survival, immune response, and risk of metastases.

When comparing treated and untreated groups, 100% of the tumors progressed and spread in the untreated group, but complete regression was achieved in 81% of the treated group, and none of the regressed tumors recurred or spread up to 12 weeks after the application of histotripsy. The use of histotripsy significantly improved survival and increased immune infiltration of the treated and residual untreated tumors in the treatment group. The authors concluded that a histotripsy-induced immune response may have been responsible for the observed effect on the untreated tumor.

The GE Vanguard included this in a story called “The 5 Coolest Things on Earth This Week

“Even if we don’t target the entire tumor, we can still cause the tumor to regress and also reduce the risk of future metastasis,” said Dr. Xu in the University of Michigan press release. “Our transducer, designed and built at U-M, delivers high amplitude microsecond-length ultrasound pulses—acoustic cavitation—to focus on the tumor specifically to break it up.”

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, VA Merit Review, U-M’s Forbes Institute for Discovery, and Michigan Medicine-Peking.

Clinically, this research may have implications for ongoing liver cancer trials in the US (NCT 04572633) and Europe (NCT 04573881). The University of Michigan is one of fourteen sites participating in the HistoSonics #HOPE4LIVER trials, which are studying the safety and efficacy of histotripsy in patients with primary and secondary liver tumors. Read More About the Clinical Trials >

See Cancers >

See the University of Michigan Press Release >

See Media Coverage in Science Daily, The Science Times, Biotechniques, Healthcare in Europe, Futurism, Cosmos, The Swaddle, SciTech Daily, CTV NewsCBS 62 Detroit, and IN

Image: The 700kHz, 260-element histotripsy ultrasound array transducer used in Prof. Xu’s lab. Credit: Marcin Szczepanski, Michigan Engineering

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