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Use Of Ultrasound To Destroy Up To 75% Of Cancer Cells - Scientists Find A New Technique

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Scientists from the University of Michigan report use of ultrasound to destroy up to 75% of cancer cells physically, allowing the immune system to focus on the remaining cancerous cells. The same method is also being tried out on people in the United States and Europe.

More than 80% of the animals showed no signs of recurrence or metastasis despite the fact that only 50% to 75% of the liver tumor volume was destroyed.

This new method, dubbed "histotripsy," uses ultrasonic waves to kill tissue with millimeter-level accuracy and precision without causing any harm to the surrounding area. This innovative method is now being tested in a clinical study for liver cancer in humans in the United States and Europe.

New Ultrasound Method Kills 75% Of Tumors

Based on early results, it looks like the sound waves were able to destroy up to 75% of the liver tumor tissue in the rats. This caused the rats' immune systems to kick in and destroy the remaining cancerous tissues, stopping the disease from coming back.

COPYRIGHT_SZ: Published on https://stationzilla.com/use-of-ultrasound-to-destroy-up-to-75percent-of-cancer-cells/ by Dr. Cooney Blades on 2022-11-16T05:40:39.778Z

Zhen Xu, a biomedical engineering professor at the University of Michigan and one of the authors, says, "Even if we don't target the whole tumor, we might still be able to make it shrink and reduce the chance that it will spread again."

Histotripsy is the latest noninvasive therapy, which uses ultrasonic waves to kill tissue with millimeter-level accuracy. In the United States and Europe, people with liver cancer are now taking part in a clinical study to test this new method.

This is crucial since many clinical scenarios rule out direct therapies due to the size, location, or stage of the tumor. However, the focus of this latest research was limited to eliminating just a subset of malignant entities, leaving the rest of the tumor unaffected. Using this methodology, the University of Michigan research group was able to demonstrate the innovative method's efficacy in less-than-ideal settings.

Even if we don’t target the entire tumor, we can still cause the tumor to regress and also reduce the risk of future metastasis.

- Zhen Xu, University of Michigan

The incidence of liver cancer is increasing, and it is now one of the leading cancer killers in the United States and across the globe. Five-year survival rates in the United States are fewer than 18% despite the availability of several treatment options. It is clear that there is a clinical need to enhance liver cancer survival rates due to the high incidence of tumor recurrence and metastasis after first therapy.

Instead of using sound waves to create pictures of the body's inside, as is done in a standard ultrasound, U-M engineers have developed a method of using sound waves to heal patients. And unlike conventional treatments like radiation and chemotherapy, this method really has no negative side effects.

National Institutes of Health, Focused Ultrasound Foundation, Veterans Affairs Merit Review, University of Michigan Forbes Institute for Discovery, and Michigan Medicine-Peking University Health Sciences Center Joint Institute for Translational and Clinical Research provided funding for the study.

Ultrasound Avoids Adverse Effects When Treating Cancer

Histotripsy is a promising option that can overcome the limitations of currently available ablation modalities and provide safe and effective noninvasive liver tumor ablation.

- Tejaswi Worlikar, doctoral student in University of Michigan

We hope that our learnings from this study will motivate future preclinical and clinical histotripsy investigations toward the ultimate goal of clinical adoption of histotripsy treatment for liver cancer patients.

- Tejaswi Worlikar, doctoral student in University of Michigan

Despite the availability of effective therapies, a diagnosis of liver cancer may still be devastating; in the United States, the five-year survival rate for this disease is less than 18 percent. Liver cancer is one of the top 10 causes of cancer-related fatalities worldwide.

However, the UM group has discovered a technique to administer "acoustic cavitation" using ultrasound, which lasts for just microseconds and has no negative side effects like chemotherapy or radiation poisoning. Although cancer has a grim and tenacious history among humans, it appears like each passing month brings us closer to finally defeating it.

Microbubbles, which quickly swell and burst, are created inside the targeted tissues by the microsecond-long pulses from the UM transducer. These highly concentrated but yet severe mechanical stresses are lethal to cancer cells and cause structural damage to tumors.

HistoSonics, a spinoff of the University of Michigan, has funded a clinical study called #HOPE4LIVER using Xu's lab's groundbreaking method of histotripsy since 2001. Histotripsy treatment of brain therapy and immunotherapy are two areas where the team has made significant strides in research.

Ultrasound therapy against cancer | Tomorrow Today

Final Words

Successful treatment of cancer and neurological disorders may benefit from a technique developed at the University of Michigan in rats. University of Michigan researchers have created a noninvasive sound technology that destroys liver tumors in rats, kills cancer cells, and stimulates the immune system to prevent the spread of cancer, an improvement that might be applied to people.

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About The Authors

Dr. Cooney Blades

Dr. Cooney Blades

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