Ultrasound machine to treat cancer at Oxford hospital

Image caption,
HIFU zaps tumours with an ultrasound beam at 10,000 times the strength of imaging ultrasound

Cancer patients in Oxfordshire could have their tumours treated with a high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) machine as an alternative to surgery.

The Churchill Hospital in Oxford is using HIFU in trials to zap tumours with an ultrasound beam at 10,000 times the strength of imaging ultrasound.

Sound beams are passed through the body, destroying cancerous cells.

David Cranston, clinical director of HIFU Unit, said: "We know it works and the technology will improve."

He added: "It's very exciting but it's still in the early early days so we need to do more work and more trials on it."

Patient trial

When David Atwell, 72, was diagnosed with a slow growing malignant kidney tumour in 2010, he took part in a trial at the Churchill Hospital to test the effectiveness of the procedure and within days was playing tennis again.

Mr Atwell, from Oxford, said: "It didn't hurt me at the time because I was under, nor did it hurt shortly afterwards, or the following day."

The machine has been loaned to the hospital by Haifu, the Chinese company which developed it, who have links with the hospital.

Professor Wu, the inventor of the HIFU machine, said it has been effective in treating patients in Chongqing, China, with liver and kidney tumours, as well as those with prostate cancer.

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