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Editor's e-Note
As the utility of minimally invasive procedures grows, new methods are proliferating. In this month’s newsletter, we have some exciting news about the use of high-intensity focused ultrasound to treat a particularly difficult problem, prostate cancer. Many prostate cancer treatments have undesirable side effects and/or don’t always eliminate 100% of the cancer. A recent study using HIFU to ablate prostate tumors produced favorable results, while significantly limiting side effects. Read on for more details.

Is your institution using HIFU? Tell us about it on Twitter and/or Facebook.

Enjoy the newsletter, and stay safe.

— Dave Yeager, editor
e-News Exclusive
Ultrasound Technique Treats Prostate Cancer With Minimal Side Effects

A technique that delivers high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to targeted tissue under MRI guidance effectively treats intermediate-risk prostate cancer with minimal side effects, according to a study published in Radiology. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, aside from nonmelanoma skin cancers. Common treatments to the entire gland, such as surgery and radiation therapy, are effective in eliminating the cancer, but they often leave patients with incontinence and sexual dysfunction.

A class of treatments called focal therapy offers an alternative for some men with intermediate-risk disease that is still confined to the prostate. In focal therapy, the cancer is ablated, or destroyed, by either heating or freezing the target tissue. Since the treatment is targeted to a small area within the prostate, side effects are generally less significant than those associated with surgery and radiation therapy.

HIFU is an example of focal therapy, in which an ultrasound transducer focuses sound waves to generate heat at a single point within the body and destroy the target tissue. In the past, it has been performed under ultrasound guidance, but ultrasound does not visualize the site of the cancer within the prostate gland well enough to allow for a targeted approach.

For the new study, researchers studied a device that delivers MRI-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS). While the patient is under general anesthesia, a probe is placed in the rectum to focus HIFU waves to the site of the cancer. The procedure takes approximately four hours to perform.

“By combining the high-intensity focused ultrasound device with MRI, we can target our treatment to the exact location because we’re able to pinpoint precisely where the tumor is,” says the study’s principal investigator and lead author Sangeet Ghai, MD, at Toronto’s Joint Department of Medical Imaging, part of the University Health Network Sinai Health and Women’s College Hospital.

Full story »
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In This e-Newsletter
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Novel Imaging Approach Invigorates Search for Inhabitable Planets
An article in Nature Communications suggests that previously undetected Earth-like planets may be hiding in plain sight, shielded by extraneous infrared wavelengths. A multinational collaborative has developed a method to filter out specific wavebands, and postulates that planets capable of sustaining life may be surprisingly close to ours.

CT Scans Reveal Paleolithic Conch Is Hand‑Crafted Musical Instrument
Utilizing photogrammetry and CT technology, French scientists examining an 18,000-year-old seashell determined that it had been shaped by humans with tools to be a functional wind instrument. Per the Independent and Science Advances, a horn player recently produced several notes of the modern musical scale from the ancient conch.

New Holography Method Harnesses Quantum‑Entangled Photons
A team of physicists from Scotland’s University of Glasgow has unveiled revolutionary quantum holography that utilizes entangled photons rather than conventional separate beams. The approach, according to an article in Nature Physics, offers numerous benefits over conventional holography, including significantly enhanced resolution.

Algorithm Addresses Motion-Related Challenges of Chest Scans
An article in Scientific Reports details a motion-correction algorithm produced by a team from South Korea. The technology mitigates the motion-related issues associated with imaging of the chest, the researchers say, and produces a statistically significant improvement over conventional approaches involving breath-hold.