Saint John's Health Center (File photo)

John Wayne Cancer Institute (JWCI) at Providence Saint John’s Health Center is once again breaking new ground to benefit cancer patients. It has become the first medical center in the country to acquire Focal One – the world’s most advanced high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) technology. This technology is available for men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer. JWCI will begin using this technology to complement its therapeutic toolkit for prostate cancer patients in the coming months.

Focal One HIFU technology offers doctors pinpoint precision—there is no other system on the market as accurate. Now urologists can treat the patient’s cancer, preserve his prostate, and enable him to maintain his quality of life.

The technology fuses ultrasound images with MRI images and biopsy findings to identify and treat only the areas harboring cancer in the prostate.  Urologists view integrated 3D images on a large monitor while conducting the outpatient HIFU procedure. This technology makes it possible to clearly distinguish between diseased and healthy tissue, target the exact location of a suspicious tumors within the prostate and destroy it, sparing the remainder of the gland.

The move from whole-gland therapy to focal therapy represents a significant paradigm shift in the way the hospital approaches prostate cancer. For decades men suffering from prostate cancer have had two primary choices for treatment – radiation therapy or radical surgery to remove the entire prostate – while both offer lifesaving therapy, each come with significant side effects which can affect a patient’s quality of life leading to impotence or incontinence.  

Focal One HIFU minimizes these potential side effects and can be repeated as many times as necessary, whereas radiation or prostatectomies are final.

The acquisition of Focal One honors the commitment by the family of John Wayne to support pioneering cancer research in memory of their father, who died of cancer. For more than 30 years, researchers at JWCI have made groundbreaking discoveries that have changed the way cancer is detected, diagnosed and treated around the world.

We are proud to play a role in continuing this legacy of the past while also forging into the future with advanced technologies to benefit our patients.

By Dr. Mehran Movassaghi, M.D., MBA, Assistant Professor of Urology and Director of Men’s Health at Providence St. John’s.

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