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SonaCare and Philips' Invivo form prostate HIFU ablation partnership

by Christina Hwang, Contributing Reporter | May 06, 2016
Health IT Medical Devices Rad Oncology
Helps surgeons locate
specific tissue for ablation
SonaCare Medical, a developer and manufacturer of high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) technology, has partnered with Philips’ Invivo to help physicians locate and track targets for prostate HIFU ablation. The collaboration will combine Invivo's UroNav fusion biopsy system with SonaCare’s Sonablate 500.

UroNav combines pre-biopsy MR images of the prostate with ultrasound-guided biopsy images in real-time, and will allow physicians to visualize the biopsy needle while Sonablate software targets and treats specific tissue using ultrasound imaging and planning tools, while sparing healthy tissue.

Thanks to the partnership, urologists who use UroNav to detail and target biopsy tissue can now localize the specific tissue appropriate for ablation directly in the Sonablate software.

When Prostate Cancer Specialists of Los Angeles announced last month that they would begin offering HIFU treatments, Dr. Kia Michel, a urological surgery specialist, touched on the advantages afforded by combining HIFU delivery with improved targeting.

"Until very recently, the standard practice for treating prostate cancer has been to surgically remove the entire gland," said Michel. "With new diagnostic tools, we can now pinpoint exactly where the tumor within the prostate is located, using multi-parametric MRI and UroNav fusion biopsies, and then we can fuse those same images to the Sonablate to guide us in delivering HIFU to target tissue in the prostate."

The following video illustrates how Sonablate works for HIFU procedures.

Fusing MR images with live ultrasound images allows for targeting of regions of the prostate not ordinarily seen under operative ultrasound, according to Dr. Mark Carol, CEO of SonaCare. “Adding fusion technology to the ablative capabilities of Sonablate makes it easier for tissue-preserving options, such as focal therapy, to be applied to the prostate,” he said in a statement.

The partnership may also yield increased sales for the SonaCare modality, as Invivo sales specialists will now be able to sell Sonablate directly to almost 200 U.S.-based facilities that are currently utilizing the UroNav system.

Plans for this collaboration have been underway at least since March 2015, when Thomas Tynes, senior director, strategy & business development at Invivo Corporation said, "With the growing adoption of Invivo’s Prostate Oncology Solutions and increasing interest in prostate focal therapy, we feel that our mutual customers would benefit greatly from the use of our MRI/US fusion software with the Sonablate 500," in a statement.

He went on to describe the addition of Invivo’s fusion software as "a natural next step to creating a truly integrated, MRI/US solution to better support and guide the treatment of prostate cancer.”

In April, SonaCare and MIM, an imaging software company, formed a collaboration to improve prostate cancer diagnosis and management. MIM Symphony fusion technology will be compatible for use with Sonablate prostate tissue ablation platform for MR data, generated by MIM Symphony, to be used with ultrasound images generated by Sonablate.

Sonablate is the first FDA-approved device for focused ultrasound ablation of prostate tissue, having received clearance in October of 2015. As of early April, SonaCare had sold 33 of the systems globally with 28 of them in the U.S.

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