July 2018 Research Roundup


Essential Tremor, metastatic cancer, breast tumors, and tumor biology are the subjects of this month’s research report. Focused ultrasound thalamotomy is an approved treatment for essential tremor; can researchers learn more about its effectiveness by correlating treatment dose with clinical outcome? Can focused ultrasound plus microbubbles deliver a significantly more effective level of growth-suppressing chemotherapy to a rare type of cancer metastases? Could an innovative transducer design allow focused ultrasound to safely and effectively treat breast cancer? Have researchers discovered a new biomarker for cancer diagnosis?

Research Roundup
Transcranial MRI‐guided High‐intensity Focused Ultrasound for Treatment of Essential Tremor: A Pilot Study on the Correlation between Lesion Size, Lesion Location, Thermal Dose, and Clinical Outcome
When applying focused ultrasound thalamotomy as a treatment for essential tremor, what is the optimal lesion size and thermal dose? Researchers at Stanford University calculated the correlation of these factors with patient outcomes in a retrospective review of eight cases. See JMRI, the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging >

Preliminary Investigation of Focused Ultrasound—Facilitated Drug Delivery for the Treatment of Leptomeningeal Metastases.
Leptomeningeal metastases are rare cancer lesions that spread from solid tumors – such as breast cancer – to the brain and spinal cord. A preclinical study at Sunnybrook Research Institute and the University of Toronto investigated whether focused ultrasound plus microbubbles could assist in delivering chemotherapy to this type of metastases. Did the technique suppress tumor growth? See Nature’s Scientific Reports >

Development of a MRI-compatible high-intensity focused ultrasound phased array transducer dedicated for breast tumor treatment.
Scientists at the Taiwan National Health Research Institutes have designed a novel focused ultrasound transducer for use in treating breast tumors. The system, which creates a quasi-hollow-cylinder-shaped lesion, has thus far been tested only in phantom tissue, but it shows promise for reducing skin burns and for interference-free operation inside of the MRI bore. See IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control >

Tumor Elastography and its Association with Collagen and the Tumor Microenvironment.
With the intent to quantify changes in extracellular matrix and stroma density in tumors and then correlate the changes with collagen and myofibroblast volume, scientists at the Department of Biomedical Imaging at Genentech successfully used ultrasound elastography plus contrast-enhanced microbubbles to track changes in tumor stiffness in a range of tumor models. The study used size-isolated microbubble (SIMB) products developed by Advanced Microbubbles Laboratories. Could this noninvasive imaging method become a new type of biomarker for assessing changes in the tumor microenvironment? See Clinical Cancer Research >