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US HIFU Technology Featured At Third International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The ability for technology from USHIFU, LLC (US HIFU), a world leader in minimally invasive high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) technologies, to offer another treatment option for prostate cancer designed to balance treatment effectiveness and quality of life was the focus of several research studies presented recently at the Third International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound. 

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Organized by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, the Symposium spotlighted leading edge preclinical, translational and clinical research related to one of today's most promising and innovative therapeutic technologies.  The Foundation is a medical technology research, education and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of millions of people with serious medical disorders by accelerating the development and adoption of focused ultrasound.

Dr. Louise Dickinson of University College London Hospitals (UCLH) was one of 15 early career scientists featured as 2012 Young Investigators award winners at the Symposium for her paper, "Medium term outcomes following primary focal HIFU for localised prostate cancer."  Evaluating tissue preserving strategies that have been used successfully in other solid organ cancers, such as breast cancer, UCL researchers have a number of trials underway to evaluate focal therapy, treatment of a limited amount of the prostate gland, as an alternative to traditional treatments with fewer side effects. Twelve month focal HIFU follow-up results published in Lancet Oncology in April 2012 showed that urinary and erectile function returned to pre-treatment levels in 9 out of 10 men, suggesting that using HIFU may offer patients better quality of life compared to whole-gland treatments. Dr. Dickinson presented data based on a median follow up of 32 months.  Results from 88 patients who have competed at least 24 months follow-up indicate that the short-term functional benefits of focal therapy seem to extend into medium term follow-up, alongside encouraging cancer control.

Dr. Dickinson also presented the paper, "MR-directed selective HIFU therapy of prostate cancer using a TRUS guidance platform," which reported that MRI-TRUS registration was performed on 17 patients, as the 'first-in-man' pilot study of this fusion technology to guide focal treatment.  Results demonstrated that MR-US registration is feasible, efficient and can localize lesions on an ultrasound based treatment platform. This not only has potential for improved accuracy of focal treatments, but may also improve diagnostic sampling strategies for prostate cancer. Fewer, and better, biopsies could be performed on suspicious lesions seen on pre-biopsy mpMRI, with potentially increased diagnostic rates of clinically significant cancer, and reduced rates for over-diagnosis of clinically insignificant disease.

US HIFU Chief Development Officer Mark Carol, MD, was also selected to present at the Symposium during the Vendor Lunchtime Discussion Session.  According to Dr. Carol, "US HIFU has a broad range of technologies for delivering HIFU, all of which rely on the use of ultrasound to "Target, Treat, and Track" cancer, including Sonatherm® a laparoscopic probe capable of extending the delivery of HIFU to organs otherwise not easily accessible, such as the kidney and liver.  The Sonatherm continues with the approach of incorporating imaging and therapy capability into the same probe, a major advantage over other ablation modalities."

"We want to congratulate Dr. Dickinson for being named a Young Investigator award winner and commend her and her colleagues at UCL for their ground-breaking research on HIFU," said Mike Klein, CEO for US HIFU.  "We are gratified that Dr. Dickinson's research, performed with US HIFU technology, was selected for recognition by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, continuing to validate the growing interest in high intensity focused ultrasound as a new treatment option to deliver minimally invasive treatment of prostate cancer with fewer side effects."  

The majority of men treated for prostate cancer are treated with surgery or radiotherapy, which involve treating the whole prostate.  Both cause damage to the surrounding non-cancerous tissue and can lead to substantial side effects such as urinary incontinence and impotence.  The goal of focal therapy is to offer an alternative to men who value genito-urinary function and quality of life, allowing each patient and their physician to balance the risk and clinical benefit of individual treatment options.

HIFU is a therapy that destroys targeted tissue with rapid heat elevation. HIFU concentrates high frequency ultrasound waves (similar to a magnifying glass) into an area the size of a grain of rice. At that location, or focal point, the temperature rapidly rises to almost 90 degrees Celsius (195 degrees Fahrenheit).  Tissue at the focal point, including cancerous tissue, is destroyed. HIFU uses non-ionizing energy, so the procedure can be repeated, if necessary. HIFU is being studied around the world to treat a wide variety of cancers and soft tissue diseases, by a number of companies.

The Sonablate is approved for investigational use within the U.S. and is being studied in a clinical trial as a possible treatment for recurrent prostate cancer in patients treated previously with radiation therapy. The FDA has made no decision as to the safety or efficacy of the Sonablate for the treatment of prostate cancer. Currently, the device is available in more than 30 countries for the treatment of prostate cancer.

USHIFU, LLC (US HIFU), a privately held, venture-backed healthcare company, is a world leader in minimally invasive high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) technologies. US HIFU is committed to treating prostate cancer using HIFU with the Sonablate® 500 (Sonablate), a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure pioneered to control cancer and significantly improve patients' quality of life. US HIFU is engaged in ongoing research for technological advancements for the Sonablate system and/or other ultrasound applications. US HIFU was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. Additional information may be found at

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