First patient in pilot study is already treated. The technology makes it possible to operating without making any incisions - offering patients an outpatient procedure with faster recovery and lower complication. The ultimate goal is to advance cancer care.
Helsinki, Finland – The University Medical Center Utrecht and Philips announced that they have started a pilot clinical study to evaluate a new treatment for breast cancer based on a technology called MR-guided High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (MR-HIFU). The technology is developed in Helsinki, Finland, by the team lead by Falko Busse, General Manager MR-Therapy at Philips Healthcare.
Since 2005, the highly specialized multi-disciplinary team in Finland is developing innovative, minimally invasive therapy solutions for multiple medical conditions based on MR-HIFU technology. The Sonalleve MR-HIFU system for treatment of uterine fibroids was introduced to the market about three years ago. A year later the first application related to cancer was released, the treatment of painful bone metastasis with MR-HIFU. Approximately 50 Sonalleve MR-HIFU systems are in use in America, Europe and Asia. In Nordic MR-HIFU systems are available in Denmark and Norway.
Innovative technologies are developed in close collaboration with local and international clinical partners.The pilot study into MR-HIFU treatment combines the clinical expertise and medical technology know-how of UMC Utrecht and Philips. To facilitate this pilot study, Philips has built a dedicated investigational system optimized for the anatomy of the female breast. The first patient in the study has already been treated using the system.
“This new pilot study targets patients with small breast tumors that have not metastasized; these patients belong to a group that encompasses approximately a quarter of all breast cancer patients in the Netherlands”, says Maurice van den Bosch, MD, interventional radiologist and research leader at the University Medical Center Utrecht. He continues:
“An important aspect of the MR-HIFU technique is that the skin stays completely intact, since everything can be done non-invasively, operating without making any incisions.”
MR-HIFU has emerged as a technology with the potential to non-invasively destroy tumors by heating them up while they are still inside the body. The technique is capable of achieving tissue temperatures in excess of 65 degrees Celsius, high enough to kill tumor cells without damaging the surrounding tissue.
Magnetic Resonance (MR) imaging provides real-time imaging of soft tissue structures so that the HIFU beam can be accurately focused onto the tumor. It also spatially maps local tissue temperatures in order to provide real-time feedback for controlling the applied temperature profiles.
“MR-guided HIFU could become a very powerful tool in the hands of physicians”, says Falko Busse, General Manager MR-Therapy at Philips Healthcare. “The benefits of its non-invasiveness have already been shown in the treatment of benign tumors of the uterus, offering patients an outpatient procedure with faster recovery and lower complication rates than surgical removal. We are now further developing this technology with the ultimate goal to advance cancer care.”
In this study the MR-HIFU treatment is being carried out under local anesthetic or sedation. Following this treatment, a conventional surgical procedure will be performed to verify the precision of the treatment. The initial aim of the study is to assess the image quality achieved by the MR-HIFU system as well as the safety and precision of the technique in this particular application.