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High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a form of energy that has been used recently to destroy tissue, and in particular, cancer growths. The technology directs ultrasound waves from various directions, where they are focused and meet at one point. The temperature of that target tissue is raised to 80-90 degrees Celsius in 2-3 seconds.
This effectively destroys the targeted cancerous tissue providing a non-invasive energy to eliminate diseased tissue. The standard transrectal ultrasound now allows the physician to focus on the prostate and plan the treatment process as well as monitor the treatment with ultrasound images.
As primary treatment for localized prostate cancer, HIFU is still considered investigational in North America and thus is not funded by OHIP. At London's Prostate Cancer Centre, we are conducting a investigative clinical program in assessing the effectiveness of HIFU for patients who have failed radiation treatment.
Planned future research includes applying our 3D ultrasound and multimodality imaging technology to guide HIFU treatments.