Highly intense ultrasound reveals perfect outcomes in nine out of ten men
Doctors from the University College London, have performed the very first trial in a new treatment for early prostate cancer that offer fewer side effects than traditional treatments.
The current treatment usually used for prostate cancer is surgery or radiotherapy but those treatments carry side effects that include impotency, incontinence and harming surrounding tissue. This new treatment just may reduce those risks.
This new treatment called HIFU for short (high-intensity focused ultrasound) aims at the small patches of cancer cells on the prostate. The technique of the ultrasound involves the use of probe that is located close to the prostate that emits sound waves that heat the cancer cells reducing the damaging to the surrounding tissues.
For this study, 41 men were treated with HIFU. After one year none of them were incontinence and only one in ten had suffered impotence. Also, one year later 95% of the men were free of cancer. According to the authors these results had a “perfect outcome” in regards to disease progression and side effects.
According to the study HIFU is a narrow beam of high energy sound waves that is directed at the cancerous area which is the size of a grain of rice. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and mapping biopsies are used by doctors in order to identify targets and aim the sound waves at the affected tissue causing it to vibrate and heat to around 80 degrees Celsius (176 ° F ) to kill the cells.
The men in this study were all at medium to high risk whose cancer most likely would spread within a few years and who would have had surgery or radiotherapy and the side effects they carry. The procedure was in a hospital under general anesthesia and most patients were released home within 24 hours.
Participants who had been excluded from the study were men who already received chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormone therapy.
Dr. Hashim Ahmed, clinical lecturer in urology and lead author of study stated “Prostate cancer has a long natural history – this means that the cancer grows slowly. Current treatments cause a lot of harm so focal therapy offers the balance between treating the cancer and minimizing the collateral tissue damage. It is the tissue damage to nerves, back passage and blood vessels that causes the side-effects. By targeting and destroying only the cancer areas, damage is minimized.”
The researchers state that further trials will provide a clearer picture of whether the ultrasound therapy can control prostate cancer over a long period of time and minimize side effects.
Dr. Ahmed further noted after Nice guidance is issued next week he expects that other doctors will use the treatment.
This study is published in the medical journal The Lancet Onocology.
This research was funded by the MRC, the Pelican Cancer Foundation and St. Peters Trust.
According to reports from Bloomberg Businessweek, this new treatment just may cost less than standard treatments. Dr. Ahmed notes the cost of a MRI and mapping was estimated at a cost of 1,500 pounds ($2,400) and HIFU treatment totaled 1,000 pounds ($2,000).
This technology noted by Dr. Ahmed may also be applied to cancers such as thyroid, breast, liver and pancreas.
Currently in Detroit, Robotic Prostate Surgery is offered. This surgery allows for better accuracy of removing cancer.
The Institute is located at:
The Vattikuti Urology Institute
K9, 2799 W. Grand Blvd.
Detroit Michigan 48202