Therapeutic ultrasound for brain disorders


Ultrasound has been used in medicine since 1951 for diagnostic purposes. In imaging applications, ultrasound is sent to tissues and returns an echo. The recording of the returned echo allows for the creation of ultrasound images. Since the initial development of ultrasound imaging, the principle has remained the same, but systems have improved with advancements in computing power and the arrival of Doppler, 3D imaging, and recently elastography. The power of the ultrasound energy sent to the tissue for imaging is very low in order to not induce any tissue damage.



If ultrasound is emitted with a power increased by a factor of 10, it becomes capable of inducing tissue heating that can either activate or destroy the cells. Ultrasound for thermal therapy is called High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU). In order to not destroy all of the tissues in the path of the ultrasound beam, the ultrasonic waves are emitted by a large aperture transducer and converge at a focal point, where the intensity is 10-1000 times higher than along the path. HIFU is in clinical development for the destruction of tumors throughout the body, including in the prostate, liver, brain, and breast.

The application of HIFU to the brain currently poses a significant problem: the skull limits the passage of ultrasound energy. The skull absorbs about 80% of the emitted energy. In addition, the inhomogeneous nature of the skull leads to a defocusing of the waves and therefore a loss of the focal spot. CarThera® has managed to avoid the problem of the skull bone by using devices that deliver ultrasound energy directly to the brain tissue, without traversing the bone.

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  • News CarThera

    CarThera presented data from phase 1/2a study at 2017 ASCO annual meeting

    June 2017 – Dr. Ahmed Idbaih, AP-HP principal investigator of the Phase 1/2a clinical trial (NCT02253212) on ultrasound induced Blood-Brain Barrier opening revealed preliminary safety and efficacy data at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago.

    The clinical data from the trial involving 21 patients with recurrent glioblastoma, who have all been treated with SonoCloud® low-intensity pulsed ultrasound in a total of 65 sessions, have been shared with more than 30,000 oncology professionals from around the world.

    CarThera secures €5.7 million in funding for its DOME project

    October 12, 2016 – CarThera has received a grant of €5.7 million ($6.4m) for its DOME project. The funding was awarded under the call for proposals ‘Structuring R&D Projects for Competitiveness’ from France’s ‘Investments for the Future Program’, led by the General Investment Commission and run by Bpifrance.

    The grant will finance our SonoCloud Phase 2b/3 study in glioblastoma that will involve around 200 patients at centers in Europe and the United States. It will also fund a number of exploratory studies, including one on Alzheimer’s disease, building on the findings from the Phase 1/2a study that paved the way for a broader array of clinical indications.

    A world first published in Science Translational Medicine

    SonoCloud® uses ultrasound to achieve permeability of blood vessels in human brain, allowing increased penetration of therapeutic molecules

    Scientific paper published on June 15th 2016 in Science Translational Medicine supports concept of intracranial ultrasound implant developed by CarThera
    Research teams from AP-HP hospitals, UPMC University, INSERM laboratories and the ICM incubator performed this breakthrough on brain tumors, paving the way for broader applications in neurological disorders