Focused Ultrasound Provides Hope in Combating the Deadliest Brain Tumor

Jason Sheehan, M.D., Ph.D., a neurosurgeon from UVA Health, has paved the way in focused ultrasound to treat glioblastoma, which is the most aggrieved and deadliest brain tumor currently known. 

The University of Virginia School of Medicine, led by Dr. Sheehan, is pioneering a technique that hits cancer cells with a drug, sensitizing them to sound waves, then exposes them with focused ultrasound. The research is early, but tests on cell samples in lab dishes look promising. 

Researchers’ results suggest that the technique has “Substantial potential for treatment of malignant brain tumors and other challenging oncology indications…” Other areas in which the process could be performed are lung and breast cancer, melanoma, and other cancers that typically are handled with traditional radiation oncology treatment options. The team predicts that the procedure will be especially useful in treating cancers in sensitive areas of the body that pose a challenge to access.

“Sonodynamic therapy with focused ultrasound offers a new therapeutic approach to treating patients with malignant brain tumors,” said Dr. Sheehan. “This approach combines two approved options, (the drug) 5-ALA and focused ultrasound, to produce a powerful tumoricidal effect on several different types of glioblastomas.’

Read more about this innovative treatment here.

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