High Intensity Focused Ultrasound for the treatment of liver metastases

Identity card

Global budget: 1126 k€

Public funding: 536 k€

Public funders: Cancéropôle CLARA, Grand Lyon

Call for projects: Proof of concept CLARA

Year start: 2006

Completed project (2013-12)

Strategic business area: Human Medicines, Medical Technologies

Application fields: Oncology, Liver

Technological approaches / Keywords: Minimally Invasive Technologies, Ultrasound

Stage of development at the beginning of the project: Preclinical development


Liver metastases from colorectal cancer are a major public health problem. Hepatic resection is the gold standard but 5-years survival is in the range of 5 to 9%. A medical device that uses High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) has been developed. Preclinical work demonstrated that this HIFU device allows rapid and precise treatments with real time monitoring using sonography. To date 19 patients have been included in a Phase I-II clinical trial. It has been demonstrated clinically that this method allows achieving fast, selective, safe and well-tolerated treatments of liver metastases.


This project aims to develop a High Intensity Focused Ultrasound device for the treatment of liver metastases from colorectal cancer. The objectives of this project are: - To perform preclinical studies to assess the vascular and biliary tolerance of the treatment. - To manufacture a HIFU medical device in accordance with European legislation for clinical use. - To validate clinically the effectiveness, accuracy, tolerance and safety of the HIFU treatment.

Innovative assets

Innovative assets

  The geometry of the emitting surface of the device and the principle of treatment were both patented. This HIFU device is able to destroy metastases up to 2 cm in diameter in less than 3 minutes. HIFU ablations through large vessels (up to 5 mm) being feasible, treatment of some juxta-vascular metastases should be possible. This HIFU treatment may have a role in treating unresectable colorectal liver metastases and may also be used in conjunction with resection to extend its limits.