First UK patient treatments with focused ultrasound for prostate cancer

Clinicians at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust use MRI-guided focused ultrasound for the first time to treat prostate cancer as part of a new trial

A medical team from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has performed the first MR-guided focused ultrasound treatment for prostate cancer in the UK.

This treatment is part of a broader study aimed at proving the safety and efficacy of the treatment.

A medical team led by Professor Wladyslav Gedroyc; and Mathias Winkler is using the Magnetic Resonance-guided Focused Ultrasound device (MRgFUS) from INSIGHTEC to treat the cancer non-invasively.

MRgFUS uses high-intensity focused ultrasound to destroy the cancerous tissue in the prostate gland by applying intense heat at the target only. MRI offers the visualisation of the anatomy, monitoring of the treatment and allows scientists to target the tumor in real-time.

Each year, more than 43,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, making it the most-common form of cancer affecting British males. While very common, survival rates of prostate cancer are very high, making quality of life following treatment a big concern for patients. Currently, patients are either offered surgery to remove the whole prostate or radiotherapy. Although these treatments are effective, they are highly invasive and can often leave patients with debilitating side effects, such as incontinence or impotence. If successful, focused ultrasound could offer focal treatment while eliminating surgery’s side effects.

This trial is the next step in using high-intensity focused ultrasound to treat prostate cancer and has the potential to offer patients a far-less-invasive procedure, which ultimately means far fewer side effects

“This trial is the next step in using high-intensity focused ultrasound to treat prostate cancer and has the potential to offer patients a far-less-invasive procedure, which ultimately means far fewer side effects,“ said Winkler, a consultant urologist at the trust and co-investigator in the trial.

“Should this trial be successful, we hope this type of treatment will be available to patients across the NHS and that it will vastly improve the quality of life for prostate cancer survivors.”

Doris Schechter, INSIGHTEC’s medical director, added: “Survival rates of prostate cancer are very high, making the quality of life post medical intervention a critical factor in the decision making process of patients’ treatment,”

“Today’s standard of care is challenged when it comes to the risk of side effects such as incontinence and impotence. This is why we’ve set ourselves a goal to utilise our non-invasive therapy platform and develop a dedicated application to treat prostate cancer.”

Susan Wills, INSIGHTEC’s country manager for the UK and Ireland, said: “INSIGHTEC is a proud to be the global leader in non-invasive MRgFUS technology, discovering new treatment options for a variety of conditions.

“We are glad to have medical centes like Imperial College that take the innovation into the clinical practice.”

The study is being conducted using INSIGHTEC’s Exablate system.

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