First UK patients treated for liver cancer using ultrasound technology

Two patients have become the first in the UK to undergo a pioneering new treatment for liver cancer as part of a US-based study.

The HistoSonics’ #HOPE4LIVER study forms a partnership between St James’s Hospital - which is managed by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust – and the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

Sheila Riley, 68 from Bradford and another patient from Newcastle received the treatment which uses the novel science of histotripsy.

The treatment is a form of therapeutic focused ultrasound, to destroy targeted primary and metastatic liver tumours without the need for invasive incisions or needles entering the patient’s body.

The treatment in Leeds took a record-breaking six minutes and 58 seconds to complete. 

The first treatment using the new technology by HistoSonics was undertaken at a Florida hospital in February 2021 with a patient in Germany subsequently becoming the first in Europe.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust is the first location in the UK to enrol patients in the #HOPE4LIVER study and is working in collaboration with Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to deliver the treatment to patients in Leeds and Newcastle.

It is hoped that following a successful trial, that this new method of treatment will become available more widely for eligible patients in the UK. 

Dr Tze Min Wah, Senior Consultant Radiologist in Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, who is leading the #HOPE4LIVER trial in Leeds, said: “It is exciting to be given this opportunity to lead this pioneering trial using histotripsy to treat liver cancer.

“This is the first ‘surgical’ treatment of liver cancer that requires no needles or scalpels.

“In addition, this procedure also involves no radiation.

“There is a real potential to truly shift the paradigm of liver cancer treatment in the future with this innovative technology and further potential for translation into cancer treatment of other sites.” 

Dr Peter Littler, Consultant Interventional Radiologist at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle said: “This is fascinating cutting-edge technology with the potential to kill a liver cancer without breaking the skin. 

“It was very exciting for our team to deliver the first treatment in the UK. It is a pleasure to work with colleagues in Leeds to offer this treatment to our patients as part of the HOPE4LIVER trial.” 

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