Pioneering a Range of New Uses for High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)

Traditionally, high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) has been used to treat patients with uterine fibroids and bone metastasis. However, Matthew Bucknor, MD, and his team at UCSF are pioneering a whole range of new uses for the technology.

Dr. Bucknor is an assistant professor in residence in the Musculoskeletal Imaging section at the UC San Francisco Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging. His main research focus centers on HIFU, a new thermal ablation technique which can completely, noninvasively destroy tumors within the body.

“The basic idea is that you take an ultrasound transducer, much like you would use for diagnostic imaging, and then you amp up the energy that's coming out of it, and then focus that energy at a single point to get it really hot,” explains Dr. Bucknor. “It is much like a magnifying glass can focus the Sun’s light. Then you can use it point-by-point to destroy tumors within the body.”

In the accompanying video, hear more from Dr. Bucknor about achievements that have come directly from his team’s research and his vision for a center for focused ultrasound at UCSF, a place where the latest breakthroughs get rapidly translated into the clinic and directly improve patient outcomes.

Visit the Musculoskeletal RIG web page to learn more about the Musculoskeletal Research Interest Group (RIG) and how these scientists are exploring the structures that support the human body, their role in health, and how to prevent and heal musculoskeletal damage.

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