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Sound medicine at Acoustics Meeting
Date:11/13/2007

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The promise of therapeutic ultrasound is that it has the potential to treat a wide variety of diseases, including stroke, Parkinsons disease, internal bleeding, nausea, and cancer, with shorter recovery times and fewer side effects.

For instance, it could potentially remove cancerous tumors without invasive surgery. It is already an option for women approaching menopause who have severe complications due to uterine fibroids. In the past, the standard treatment option for these women was surgical removal of the fibroids or the entire uterusa hysterectomy. Therapeutic ultrasound can potentially remove the fibroids non-invasively, reducing the recovery period from weeks to days.

What makes ultrasound especially attractive as a technology is that it is relatively cheap and clinically proven. Obstetricians and physical therapists have used it as an imaging and therapeutic tool for years. Sham Sokka (sham.sokka@philips.com) and his colleagues at Philips Medical Systems are developing a system that uses MRI in conjunction with high-intensity focused ultrasound as a device to treat cancer. The system basically uses the MRI to guide the focus of acoustical waves so that the treatment can be monitored as it proceeds.

Depending on where the waves are directed, they can generate heat or cause cavitationthe formation of microscopic bubbles. With the heat generated by acoustical waves or the formation and collapse of the micro-bubbles, tumors can be removed without ever piercing the skin. It can also help to deliver drugs locally in the brain or in other tissues. There is also the potential to load chemotherapy agents in bubbles and deliver these agents to certain parts of the body, amplifying their local concentration by focusing ultrasound on those areas.

High-intensity focused ultrasound is already in use in parts of Europe and Asia for treating people with a variety of malignant tumors, and several major clinical trials are underwa
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Contact: Jason Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
301-209-3091
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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