UVA first focused ultrasound

The University of Virginia Health System (UVA) has launched the first clinical trial test of the ultrasound technology to treat benign breast tumours known as fibroadenomas.

The launch of this trial will help UVA in expanding its pioneering work in the field of focused ultrasound.

The new test will expand UVA’s research into the potential applications of the scalpel-free focused ultrasound technology.

Women aged between 15 and 35 years are mostly effected by fibroadenomas, which is the most common type of lump within the breast.

UVA lead investigator of the trial Dr David Brenin said: "Currently, the only way to make the lump go away is to do an operation.

"You make an incision and remove the mass, but it leaves a scar. After the operation there is no lump, but the patient has a scar.

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"This is the first step of evaluating the device to treat tumours of the breast non-surgically.

"This is the first step of evaluating the device to treat tumours of the breast non-surgically."

"Ultimately, the goal is not just to treat fibroadenomas but to treat other, malignant breast tumours."

In the trial, doctors are using a focused ultrasound machine to treat fibroadenomas with ultrasound energy that destroys the tumours.

According to UVA, the focused ultrasound technology allows women to avoid surgery to remove the tumour.

By the end of 2015, UVA intends to test the safety and efficacy of the procedure in 20 women who have growing breast tumours or painful lumps.

UVA researcher Dr Carrie Rochman: "The great benefit of this approach is that we have real-time visualisation, so we can watch as we perform the procedure to target exactly where we want to target."

Image: Dr David Brenin and Dr Carrie Rochman are evaluating focused ultrasound’s potential to treat noncancerous tumours of the breast. Photo: courtesy of University of Virginia.