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.

  • unnamed-2

  • News CarThera

    December 2020: CarThera starts phase I/II trial in collaboration with Northwestern University

    CarThera announces the launch of a new phase I/II clinical trial (NCT04528680) in collaboration with Northwestern University in Chicago. The trial will recruit up to 39 patients with recurrent glioblastoma (GBM) to test the SonoCloud-9 device in combination with Abraxane® – an albumin-bound formulation of paclitaxel. The first patient in this trial has been treated and further patient recruitment is now on-going. The goal of the trial is to determine the safe dose of Abraxane to be used in combination with the SonoCloud-9 device in recurrent GBM patients (Phase I); then expand with the established safe dose in order to evaluate preliminary efficacy (Phase II).

    September 2020: CarThera to receive €2M grant and €10.5M equity from the European Innovation Council

    CarThera announces that it has been selected by the EIC Accelerator Pilot to receive a €2 million ($2.3M) grant and €10.5M ($12M) in equity for the development of its DOMEUS project for the treatment of glioblastoma (GBM) patients. The company will also receive business coaching and mentoring to accompany its growth. With the DOMEUS project, CarThera will be able to scale-up its processes and organizational structure to bring its technology to an increasing number of patients around the world.

    June 2020: CarThera announces enrollment of first melanoma patient in new clinical trial for SonoCloud technology

    CarThera announces that the first patient has been enrolled and treated in a clinical trial evaluating the safety of using its SonoCloud® technology in combination with checkpoint inhibitors for the treatment of brain metastases from melanoma (NCT04021420). In this trial, anti-PD1 alone or in combination with anti-CTLA4 are administered in patients before SonoCloud-mediated Blood Brain Barrier opening (BBB). BBB opening can help boost the brain’s immunity and increase brain penetration of newly approved systemically delivered immunotherapies, such as checkpoint inhibitors. This could translate into controlling brain disease with the same magnitude as peripheral diseases, improving clinical outcomes for many patients worldwide.