EPISODE 202 | RELEASED February 6, 2023

HIFU: How Sound Waves Can Destroy Tumors | Dr. Joanne Tuohy

Use sound waves to make tumors explode with a cloud of tiny bubbles? Check! This experimental therapy may be the future of bone cancer treatment in dogs.


The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine is one of the few locations in the world studying histotripsy, also known as high-intensity focused ultrasound or HIFU. This non-invasive therapy uses powerful sound waves to, well, basically disintegrate tumors. It may sound crazy, but it’s a real thing, and there are even clinical trials in humans ongoing in Spain.

Dr. Joanne Tuohy explains the method and the current studies that she is involved with. Current work is focused on osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and soft tissue sarcoma, but they are hoping to expand to other solid tumors in the future. While we don’t yet know all of the answers and HIFU is far from being considered standard of care for dog cancer, dogs with bone cancer or soft tissue sarcoma may be eligible to participate in clinical trials and receive this therapy.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Histotripsy for treatment of canine appendicular osteosarcoma clinical trial: https://vetmed.vt.edu/clinical-trials/current-studies/histotripsy-osteo.html

Evaluating the ablative and biomechanical effects of complete tumor histotripsy ablation in canine osteosarcoma clinical trial: https://vetmed.vt.edu/clinical-trials/current-studies/histotripsy-osteo-no-amputation.html

High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) ablation as single modality treatment for canine subcutaneous tumors clinical trial: https://vetmed.vt.edu/clinical-trials/current-studies/hifu-sts.html

HeEV: Histotripsy-enabled Extracellular Vesicle characterization in canine soft tissue sarcoma patients clinical trial: https://vetmed.vt.edu/clinical-trials/current-studies/heev-histotropsy-sts.html

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