Focused ultrasound releases cancer drug

No, HIFU is not a three-line poem. It's an acronym for High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, and the French ultrasound company EDAP TMS has announced that after three years of testing, it has proven that HIFU can direct ultrasound-sensitive liposomes to deliver cancer drugs.

Liposomes are artificially made microscopic drug delivery devices consisting of a fatty membrane over a hollow "bubble." As we reported in our special section on game-changing delivery technologies, liposomes hold great promise as drug delivery devices as new and improved ways of getting them to precisely release their payloads are invented.

What EDAP has done, with the help of the Norwegian company Epitarget and the French laboratory INSERM, is use ultrasound to activate the liposome and release the cancer drug doxorubicin.

"Our team is very excited that the demonstration of Epitarget's ultrasound sensitive liposomes in combination with therapeutic ultrasound enhanced the efficacy of established cancer drugs," said Epitarget CEO Esben Nilssen in a statement. "It provides hope to millions of cancer patients."

EDAP CEO Marc Oczachowski said he believes HIFU could "become the gold standard of treatment for prostate cancer."

- read the EDAP release