Focused Ultrasound as a Non-invasive Treatment for Breast Cancer

Graphic- Focused Ultrasound as a Non-invasive Treatment for Breast Cancer
Pictures of the non-invasive breast cancer treatment technology using a breast-specific magnetic resonance-guided, focused ultrasound system and real-time magnetic resonance image monitoring. A) Breast magnetic resonance-guided focused-ultrasound system installed in a magnetic resonance imaging scanner. B) Treatment cylinder component of the system where the treated breast is placed during the procedure. C) Temperature rise in the breast tumor during the ablation procedure. D) Cumulative thermal dose measured in cumulative equivalent minutes at 43°C (CEM 43°C) during the treatment, with red showing where cancer cells have been destroyed.

As physicians discover breast cancers at earlier stages, many women seek therapies that are effective yet non-invasive and non-scarring. Allison Payne, PhD, and her colleagues have developed a magnetic resonance-guided, focused ultrasound system specifically designed for breast tumor therapy. Steered by the physician, this system delivers high-intensity ultrasound waves to a precise area inside the breast, where non-invasively destroy malignant tissues are non-invasively destroyed with heat. This system was designed specifically for the patient’s comfort, with her laying on a customized table and her breast suspended in a treatment cylinder. Comfort is important because the patient may be inside the MRI machine for more than an hour. An additional innovation was the development of magnetic resonance imaging techniques that monitor, in real time, the temperature increase caused by the high-intensity ultrasound within the treatment tissues. This system is currently undergoing clinical trials and is with a goal of ultimately gaining FDA approval.  For patients who are medically-eligible, this technology represents a significant advance in breast cancer therapy.


Issues Icon

Design and characterization of a laterally mounted phased-array transducer breast-specific MRgHIFU device with integrated 11-channel receiver array. Payne, A, Merrill R, Minalga E, Vyas U, de Bever J, Todd N, Hadley R, Dumont E, Neumayer L, Christensen D, Roemer R, Parker D. Med Phys. 2012 March;39(3):1552.

Issues Icon

An 11-channel radio frequency phased array coil for magnetic resonance guided high-intensity focused ultrasound of the breast. Minalga E, Payne A, Merrill R, Todd N, Vijayakumar S, Kholmovski E, Parker DL, Hadley JR. Magn Reson Med. 2013 January;69(1):295.

Issues Icon

In vivo evaluation of a breast-specific magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound system in a goat udder model.Payne A, Todd N, Minalga E, Wang Y, Diakite M, Hadley R, Merrill R, Factor R, Neumayer L, Parker DL. Med Phys. 2013 July;40(7):073302.

Issues Icon

A breast-specific MR guided focused ultrasound platform and treatment protocol: first-in-human technical evaluation. A  Payne A, Merrill R, Minalga E, Hadley JR, Odéen H, Hofstetter LW, Johnson S, Tunon de Lara C, Auriol S, Recco S, Dumont E, Parker DL, Palussiere J. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2021 Mar;68(3):893.

Press Releases and Media:

U of U Health Key Faculty Collaborators

Dennis L. Parker, PhD
J. Rock Hadley, PhD
Henrik Odéen, PhD