MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound

Non-invasive treatment
for fast pain relief
in bone where cancer has spread

Benefits of Focused Ultrasound

  • Fast onset of pain relief
  • Minimal side effects
  • Uses ultrasound energy to heat nerves damaged by cancer cells
  • A new treatment option for some patients when radiation and surgery
    can no longer be used
  • Non-invasive treatment with no scarring,
    bleeding or risk of infection
  • Outpatient procedure without hospital stay

Focused Ultrasound
uses high energy sound waves
to generate heat inside the body.

Dr. Josh Meyer explains how focused ultrasound can benefit patients with painful bone metastases. Video: Insightec

HIFU for pain in bone metastasis

Ultrasound waves focus onto a small area of the bone and the affected nerve.
Illustration courtesy Insightec

Pain from cancer that has spread to the bone can be relieved by using focused ultrasound to create a heat to destroy nerves, providing relief.

Because there is no radiation involved — only sound waves — there are minimal effects, and it can be used while receiving other cancer treatment.

The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) guides the software controlling the HIFU's targeting system, which ensures sub-millimeter accuracy.

It's a single session treatment.

Pain relief is within days.

Since ultrasound involves no radiation and the effects do not accumulate, additional sessions can be added for additional nerve pain, as needed.

MRI-Focused Ultrasound for Cancer Treatment

Although focused ultrasound (sometimes called High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, or HIFU) is currently being used only to treat painful bone metastases, it may be used by Fox Chase physicians in the future to treat patients with breast, prostate, gynecologic and gastrointestinal (GI) cancers.

This intense heat (hyperthermia) can destroy cancer cells alone or in conjunction with radiation. This heat can be narrowly focused on the tumor with great precision while sparing the normal surrounding tissue and organs.

In December 2008, Fox Chase doctors performed the first HIFU treatment at Fox Chase Cancer Center and only the 6th in the United States on a cancer patient.

MRI guidance for focused ultrasound is the latest development in use at Fox Chase Cancer Center.  The department of Radiation Oncology has a dedicated 1.5T MRI Scanner used to guide the sound waves.  The sophisticated software system is able to shows the patient's tumor in real time during treatment. The MRI's image works with the software controlling the HIFU's targeting system, which ensures sub-millimeter accuracy.