InSightec’s Solution Will ‘Cook’ And Destroy Tumors In the Body

By Johnathan Leow and Aya Ephrati, NoCamels July 04, 2013 Comments

The excision of tumors from the body often means complicated surgery with serious risks. InSightec, an Israeli biotechnology company, is working on a product that could mean the destruction of tumors without necessitating a single incision by essentially “cooking” tumors inside the body.

The company has already received regulatory approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for their surgery replacement product, called ExAblate.

“ExAblate is the marriage of focused ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologies,” VP of International Markets Roni Yagel tells NoCamels.

“Focused ultrasound can serve as a heating device. Unlike light, that cannot penetrate skin, focused ultrasound is able to. On the other hand, MRI is a viewing device. When you put the two together, then we can treat targets inside the body and at the same time see what is going on.”

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“Making non-invasive surgery the norm”

InSightec offers two product lines that utilize the innovative technology: the ExAblate O.R, a non-invasive operating room, and the ExAblate Neuro, an acoustic surgery platform for treating neurological disorders.

The ExAblate system has so far been in use in a number of hospitals across the world to treat fibroids, benign tumors that usually develop on the wall of the uterus, and bone tumors.

Yagel shared InSightec’s vision with NoCamels: “In the near future when non-invasive surgery becomes more prevalent, I see patients being presented with this surgical technique as the default treatment option. Only if they are deemed unsuitable, should they be referred to the minimally invasive or open surgery option.”

InSightec has already experienced several successful clinical trials. A few patients in Israel and Italy even saw a quick and full recovery, ExAblate asserts.

Despite these successes, the company has yet to form partnerships with insurance companies that will cover patient costs. To do so, the company must further establish itself as an effective alternative, which requires intensive (and expensive) testing.

InSightec has managed to raise $42 million from GE Healthcare, Elbit Medical and MedTech Advisors in 2012, of which a large sum will go to further research and development and clinical trials.

The company is working on further research to expand its MRgFUS technology beyond the current capability to treat tumors. Some of the areas being researched include back pain relief (of which clinical trials are underway), stroke management and targeted drug delivery.

“There are other areas of focused ultrasound that can generate various beneficial effects beyond destroying tumors, and the possibilities are endless” Yagel concludes.

Photo: InSightec website | Video: Technion Israel Institute of Technology

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