December 2017 Research Roundup


Focused ultrasound is now being investigated to treat more than 100 conditions in a wide range of specialties. This range is evident in the December Research Roundup, which includes studies or review articles on cancer immunotherapy, vascular malformations, and glaucoma. The systemic effect of tumor ablation is the topic of the review article, and clinical advances are being made for patients with the other two diseases.researchroundup

Focused Ultrasound: Tumor Ablation and its Potential to Enhance Immunological Therapy to Cancer.
In this new review article, an international group of researchers describe the numerous mechanisms of action for focused ultrasound and report its current clinical applications. Relying on their experiences with liver and pancreatic tumor treatment with focused ultrasound, the authors theorize the immune-stimulation process that seems to be initiated through its use in tumor ablation. See The British Journal of Radiology >

Treatment of Low-Flow Vascular Malformations of the Extremities Using MR-Guided High Intensity Focused Ultrasound: Preliminary Experience.
Vascular malformations are sometimes painful or symptomatic congenital birthmarks or growths formed by abnormal clusters of blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, or both. If symptomatic, they are routinely treated with surgery or embolization. Five patients who were medically refractory to conventional therapy were treated in a clinical trial using focused ultrasound. Did this experimental non-invasive treatment reduce the size of the malformations and decrease pain? See the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology: JVIR >

Safety and Efficacy of Multiple Cyclocoagulation of Ciliary Bodies by High-intensity Focused Ultrasound in Patients with Glaucoma.
Glaucoma is an eye disease that can lead to blindness. Focused ultrasound is used to reduce the intraocular pressure that causes glaucoma by inducing selective necrosis on parts of the eye’s ciliary body. Researchers in Italy enrolled 40 patients affected by primary or secondary uncontrolled glaucoma under maximal tolerated medical therapy in a prospective, non-comparative case series study. The patients were treated with focused ultrasound and then retreated at four-month intervals until their intraocular pressure remained above 5 mmHg and below 21 mmHg without medication and no major or vision-threatening complications. Were the repeated applications of focused ultrasound safe and effective for this series of patients? See Graefe’s Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology >