A photo of Dr Paul Lyon
Principal Investigators: 

Dr Paul Lyon


The University of Oxford

Award Amount: 
48 months

High Intensity Focused Ultrasound is an exciting treatment method, capable of destroying a tumour by targeting it with focused ultrasound waves from outside the body. It is both non-invasive and uses no radiation. This exciting early phase study is looking at how High Intensity Focused Ultrasound can be applied to soft tissue sarcoma.

SARC-ABLATE Study: A pilot study in pre-operative focused ultrasound ablation of resectable soft tissue sarcoma

High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) is versatile treatment modality capable of destruction of tumours by focusing ultrasound waves from outside the body. It has demonstrated an impressive safety profile by virtue of being both non-invasive and lacking radiation. Previous studies in China have demonstrated the success of HIFU in the treatment of soft tissue sarcoma, and other trials are ongoing internationally, but this treatment has not been investigated within the UK’s health care setting before.

Oxford has world-class expertise in clinical HIFU complemented by expert laboratory facilities at the University of Oxford. The Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre’s Oxford Bone & Soft Tissue Tumour Service is a nationally approved tertiary referral centre for soft tissue and bone sarcomas receiving four hundred referrals annually. As such, there is a unique opportunity in Oxford for an early clinical study within the NHS to explore the use of HIFU ablation of soft tissue sarcoma, investigating both the radiological and immune responses to this modality.

This early-phase study aims to investigate the safety, feasibility, efficacy and immune effects of preoperative HIFU ablation of soft tissue sarcoma, prior to resection. It is anticipated that HIFU will be able to reduce the size and perfusion of soft tissue sarcomas, reducing surgical morbidity. The study will explore immunological responses to HIFU using tissue and blood samples with state-of-the-art laboratory techniques, helping to shape future research avenues in sarcoma treatments.

Later phase studies may demonstrate HIFU is capable of successfully treating sarcoma tumours unsuitable for surgery or other treatments. The long term aim is that clinical adoption of HIFU treatment for soft tissue sarcoma will lead to improvement in survival outcomes and quality of life.

Project status: