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UCI Health treats first prostate cancer patient with latest high-intensity ultrasound device

February 26, 2019
Dr. Edward Uchio examines scans from the Focal One system
Dr. Edward Uchio examines scans from the Focal One system

UCI Medical Center has become the first U.S. hospital to treat prostate cancer patients using high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) technology.

“This recent advance in prostate cancer treatment allows for incredibly accurate targeting and destruction of cancerous tissue while sparing healthy tissue and the surrounding structure of the prostate,“ said Edward M. Uchio, MD, director of urologic oncology for the UCI Health Center for Urologic Care.  

UCI Medical Center is one of three U.S. centers to acquire the Focal One® system from EDAP TMS. Uchio said the system’s imaging capabilities are especially useful, as urologists can see 3D images on a large monitor during the procedure to identify and treat only cancerous areas of the prostate. The technology is expected to lower potential side effects, such as sexual dysfunction and incontinence, that may accompany more invasive treatments.

“This procedure preserves the patient’s quality of life and is an option for select prostate cancer patients,” said Uchio, the Jerry D. Choate Chair in Urologic Oncology, Department of Urology, UCI School of Medicine.

Traditional approaches to prostate cancer treatment include active surveillance — closely watching the disease — or proactive intervention with surgery or radiation treatment. Both strategies carry risks and benefits; Uchio said the use of focal HIFU technology may bridge the gap because focused ultrasound does not damage nearby tissue.  

Though physicians have seen promising results, Uchio said no long-term data currently exists on the impact of the technology. 

“It will likely take many years of data to establish HIFU therapy as a standard treatment option,” he said. He also noted that this therapy may not be appropriate in all instances of prostate cancer.

UCI Health is recognized for its expertise in robot-assisted and minimally invasive prostate cancer treatments and known for its dedication to advancing medical innovations to deliver the finest in evidence–based care. 

“We see it as an obligation to examine all treatment options, including new technology, to improve the standard of care for our patients,” Uchio said. 

Robot-assisted radical prostatectomy, radiation therapy and minimally-invasive treatment — including standard HIFU, cryoablation (freezing) of prostate cancers — are among the leading treatments for the disease and are specialties of the prostate cancer program

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is among the most common cancers in American men and is their second leading cause of cancer death, behind lung cancer. About 1 man in 8 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. 

UCI Health comprises the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, California. The 418-bed acute care hospital provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, and behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center is home to Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center and regional burn center. UCI Health serves a region of nearly 4 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.