Researchers from Imperial College London devised a high energy ultrasound beam to destroy prostate cancer tumors.
According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2018 around 164,690 new cases were registered with prostate cancer and around 29,430resulted in deaths. Major treatments against prostate cancer include surgery and radiotherapy. However, both the treatments possess adverse effects on surrounding tissues of nerves, muscles, urine passage, bladder and rectum. It also leads to urinary problems and erectile dysfunction. A new research by Imperial College London along with 6 hospitals across UK tracked around 600 men with prostate cancer who received a type of treatment called high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). The research was published in the journal European Urology on June 27, 2018.
HIFU is performed under general anesthetics. It operates by inserting a probe up the back passage to deliver beams of high energy ultrasound directly into the prostate gland, which in turn enables to precisely target tumor cells within the gland to millimeter accuracy. Such high accuracy causes minimal damage to surrounding tissues and no needles or cuts to skin are needed. The clinical trial was carried on men with an average age of 65. It was observed that the cancer did not spread and the risk of urine incontinence at five years after the treatment was 2 per cent. Furthermore, erectile dysfunction was evident in only 15 per cent of the cases. The researchers also tracked the number of patients who required further treatment following HIFU for remnant cancer cells. The researchers found that 10 per cent of patients needed further treatment in comparison to 5-15 per cent after surgery or radiotherapy. The work was funded by the Medical Research Council and SonaCare Inc.