Scientists from the University of Michigan have published groundbreaking research on using noninvasive, high intensity focused ultrasound wave pulses of extremely short duration to break up tumor cells. The tests performed on rat models have proven to destroy large portions of liver cancer cells, which then allow the rats' own immune systems access to attack the remaining cancer tissue. Online journal MedicalXpress reports that human trials are now ongoing in the U.S. (University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor VA Hospital) and in Europe.
This is the open-source Simple Summary from the journal Cancers:
"Histotripsy is a novel technique that mechanically disrupts tumors, through precisely controlled acoustic cavitation. There is insufficient evidence regarding the effects of histotripsy on the risk of recurrence and metastases, following tumor debulking. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of partial histotripsy tumor ablation (~50–75% tumor volume targeted) on untargeted tumor progression, survival outcomes, risk of metastases and immune infiltration, in an orthotopic, immunocompetent, metastatic rodent hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) model. Even with partial ablation, complete local tumor regression was observed in 81% of treatment rats, with no recurrence or metastasis. In contrast, 100% of the untreated control animals showed local tumor progression and intrahepatic metastases. Histotripsy-treated animals had statistically significant improved survival outcomes compared to controls (p-value < 0.0001). Histotripsy-treated animals had increased immune infiltration, as compared to controls, which may have contributed to the eventual regression of the untargeted tumor region in partial histotripsy-treated tumors."