Breakthrough new technique destroys cancer using sound waves

By Mark Waghorn via SWNS A new technique that destroys cancer using sound waves also spurs the immune system to kill off any of the remaining tumors.

The non-invasive treatment developed by the University of Michigan only needs to be partially effective to stop cancer from spreading. It is currently being tested on

human liver cancers in the US and Europe following successful trials in rats. The team showed that sound technology is able to prevent further spread with no evidence of

recurrence or metastases in the majority of cases. The treatment, called histotripsy, noninvasively focuses ultrasound waves to mechanically destroy target tissue with

millimeter precision. In many cases, the entirety of a cancerous tumor cannot be targeted directly in treatments due to the mass, size, location or stage.

However, researchers investigated the effects of partially destroying tumors with sound to 50 or 75 percent and found the technique was still very effective. They

showed that in 80 percent of cases performed on rats, the immune system broke down the rest of the tumor and it did not return. Professor Zhen Xu, at the University

of Michigan, said: "Even if we don't target the entire tumor, we can still cause the tumor to regress and also reduce the risk of future metastasis. "Our transducer

delivers high amplitude microsecond-length ultrasound pulses—acoustic cavitation—to focus on the tumor specifically to break it up. "Traditional ultrasound devices use

lower amplitude pulses for imaging."