Newswise — Lian Zhang, MD, gastroenterologist with the Clinical Center for Tumor Therapy, Second Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing University of Medical Sciences, met with Alan Matsumoto, MD, Co-Director of the UVA Focused Ultrasound Center.

Focused ultrasound is a breakthrough technology that uses multiple intersecting beams of ultrasound energy guided by magnetic resonance or ultrasound imaging to treat tissue deep in the body without incisions or radiation.

Dr. Zhang is a leading clinician in the field, having been involved with focused ultrasound for more than 10 years. Chongqing Haifu’s focused ultrasound system is currently approved in China and Europe to treat uterine fibroids, breast cancer, liver cancer, kidney cancer, soft tissue tumors, and pain control for pancreatic cancer and bone metastases. The technology is quite established for uterine fibroids, with more than 100 Chongqing Haifu systems in OB/GYN offices around China.

“Focused ultrasound is a noninvasive technique that should be the future for the treatment of many tumors,” said Dr. Zhang. “It is important that physicians and patients know about this approach and how patients can benefit from this treatment.”

After learning about the scope of focused ultrasound treatment in China and some of the exciting research expanding the use of the technology, Dr. Matsumoto commented that, “Dr. Zhang and his team have demonstrated great expertise and experience with ultrasound-guided HIFU therapy and its exciting potential to be translated to a wide array of disease states.”

Highlights of recent research in a range of conditions include:

Liver Cancer − Results of a small study of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (the most common type of liver cancer) achieved a 3-year survival rate of 80%, comparable to and potentially better than studies using other treatments such as RF ablation and resection.

Pancreatic Cancer − They have also had promising results in a feasibility study for pancreatic cancer. In this study, 21 of 23 patients showed tissue volume control at six months, 9 out of 11 patients had long lasting pain control after 14 months of follow-up.

Breast Cancer − A breast-sparing study of 46 breast cancer patients with stage 1, 2, or 3 disease treated with focused ultrasound, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy achieved a mean 33 month survival rate of over 95% and local recurrence of 4.3%.

Bone Cancer − A study of 80 patients receiving limb-sparing treatment including chemotherapy (for those with sensitive tumors) and focused ultrasound showed that patients who had full focused ultrasound treatment and completed chemotherapy had a significantly higher chance of survival than those who had partial treatment.

Fibroids − In a review of 757 patients with 1114 uterine fibroids treated with focused ultrasound from 2006-2009, symptom improvement was observed in 92.5% of patients, and sustained for three years.

The meeting with Dr. Matsumoto could be the first step in a long-term collaboration between UVA, Chongqing University, and the Focused Ultrasound Foundation.

ABOUT FOCUSED ULTRASOUNDFocused ultrasound is a revolutionary, early-stage therapeutic technology with the potential to transform the treatment of many serious medical disorders. This breakthrough technology uses ultrasonic energy guided by magnetic resonance or ultrasound imaging to treat tissue deep in the body without incisions or radiation. Multiple intersecting beams of ultrasound are directed and concentrated on a target as small as a grain of rice, much like a magnifying glass can focus multiple beams of light on a single point.

Focused ultrasound is currently approved in the U.S. to treat uterine fibroids and painful bone metastases, and there are a growing number of clinical applications in various stages of research and development around the world, including Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, neuropathic pain, breast and prostate cancer, and brain tumors.

ABOUT THE FOCUSED ULTRASOUND FOUNDATIONThe Focused Ultrasound Foundation was created to improve the lives of millions of people worldwide by accelerating the development and adoption of focused ultrasound therapies. The Foundation works to clear the path to global adoption by coordinating and funding research, fostering collaboration among stakeholders, and building awareness of the technology among patients and professionals. The Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that focused ultrasound finds its place as a mainstream therapy for a range of conditions within years, not decades. Since its establishment in 2006, the Foundation has become the largest non-governmental source of funding for focused ultrasound research. More information about the Charlottesville, Virginia-based Foundation can be found at