What is HIFU and Focal Therapy?
The types of High-intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) and Focal Therapy are:
• High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). HIFU uses the energy of sound waves to target and superheat the tumor to kill cells (with the help of MRI scans). It can be used for the whole gland.
• Focal cryoablation. This uses a needle-thin probe to circle the tumor with a special solution that kills the tumor by freezing it.
• Irreversible electroporation. This uses a "NanoKnife" to pass an electrical current through the tumor. The electricity creates very tiny openings (called pores) in the tumor's cells, leading to cell death.
For men with small, localized prostate tumors, focal therapy may be an option. Focal therapy is a general term for a few methods. They kill small tumors inside the prostate, without destroying the whole gland or healthy tissue nearby. There are a few types of focal therapy in clinical trials.
What are the Benefits, Risks and Side Effects of Focal Therapy?
Ideally, focal therapy would lead to fewer side effects including changes in urinary function. The long-term benefits of focal therapy are not yet known. Research is being done to study this further. Right now, the FDA has approved this method to destroy prostate tissue, but not clearly to treat prostate cancer. Because many of these treatments are so new, insurance coverage is not often available.