Why histotripsy may be the next leap forward in ablative therapy


Histotripsy, which was invented at the University of Michigan, uses pulsed sound waves to destroy tissue. It is a non-invasive and non-thermal mechanism that is currently being studied for its “completely different mechanism for ablating tissue, which […] we will be able to leverage to our advantage in treating cancer”, says Fred T Lee (Madison, USA). Lee, a professor (tenure) of Radiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Urology, The Robert A Turrell Professor of Imaging Science, and the chief of Abdominal Intervention at the University of Wisconsin, asserts that histotripsy could overcome some of the limitations of thermal ablation.
More evidence is needed and there is a “still a lot of work to be done”, Lee cautions, while suggesting that in the future, histotripsy could be used as an immune primer in conjunction with checkpoint inhibitors. It might, therefore, be useful in treating patients with very advanced tumours or multiple tumours that “we ordinarily would not be able to treat with ablation”, he says.


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