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High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) Treatment for Prostate Cancer

What is high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)?

High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound or HIFU is an FDA-approved, minimally invasive procedure for the treatment of prostate cancer that offers personalized treatment and dramatically reduced side effects.

How does high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) work?

HIFU destroys prostate cancer through the delivery of precise and focused sound waves to a targeted spot of diseased prostate tissue. This technology uses ultrasound energy, not radiation, to destroy the targeted tissue. The Ultrasound energy, or sound waves, is transmitted through the rectal wall and focused at desired locations within the prostate identified by MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and confirmed by ultrasound. This targeted and minimally invasive approach to treating prostate cancer leaves the healthy tissue untouched and unharmed and minimizes the chance of side effects.

HIFU Clinical Update (PDF)

The basic concept of how HIFU targets, burns and destroys specific prostate tissue is similar to how a magnifying glass can use the sun’s rays of light to burn a precise hole in a leaf at the point of intersection. Similar principles apply to HIFU. Instead of using light as the source of energy, HIFU uses sound, and instead of a magnifying glass, HIFU uses a transducer. The sound waves that are aimed at the prostate tissue, rapidly increase tissue temperature, destroying only the cancerous lesions and protecting the healthy surrounding tissue.

What are the benefits of HIFU for prostate cancer treatment?

  • Outpatient, same-day procedure
  • Non-Invasive – no surgery or blood loss
  • Radiation-free
  • Personalized, targeted treatment
  • Limited side effects

Who is Eligible for HIFU Treatment for prostate cancer?
Eligible patients have low-to-intermediate risk prostate cancer, with prostates that are not too enlarged.

UCLA Expertise in HIFU Treatment
UCLA Urologists, Drs. Leonard Marks and Allan Pantuck, were the study investigators for the first U.S.-based HIFU clinical trails that began in March 2009. UCLA became the lead enroller nationwide for that study. The results of that study were submitted to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel in 2014 and in late 2015 the FDA approved the first ultrasound system for the ablation of prostate tissue in the United States.

In 2016 UCLA Urology acquired the High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) machine and began treating patients. The Sonablate machine that is used at UCLA uses image-guided technology, allowing our UCLA physicians to create a customized plan for each patient’s individual treatment needs. This image-guided method of fusing MR (magnetic resonance) images with real-time ultrasound has been used at UCLA since 2009 to perform targeted biopsies for the diagnosis of prostate cancer. Targeted prostate biopsy was developed at UCLA by a multidisciplinary team, including members of the urology, radiology, pathology, and biomedical engineering departments.

UCLA Advantages
UCLA's Prostate Cancer Program, affiliated with UCLA's Institute of Urologic Oncology and the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, is a multidisciplinary, comprehensive program offering the latest treatments for prostate cancer and compassionate care for its patients. Our program has a long-held team approach to treating prostate cancer that includes urologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and clinical trial nurses that allows for specialized perspectives for deciding upon the best option for each individual patient.

To find out more about HIFU treatment for prostate cancer in Los Angeles and to schedule an appointment, please call the UCLA Urology Appointment line at 310-794-7700.

More information regarding High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) at UCLA Urology: