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Need for Image Guided Minimally Invasive Ablative Treatments Featured Prominently at American Urological Association (AUA) Annual Meeting

SAN DIEGO, May 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The need to add tissue preserving therapies to the prostate cancer treatment continuum was highlighted prominently at the 108th Annual Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA), in San Diego.  According to SonaCare Medical, a leader in minimally invasive high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) technology, the need for image-guided technologies to better identify and localize disease, and for urologists to consider minimally invasive ablative treatments, was addressed in the Opening Session, the Dr. W. Whitmore Memorial Lecture, and multiple sessions throughout the AUA meeting. 

"Giving the annual Whitmore Lecture sponsored by the Society of Urologic Oncology, Dr. Urs Studer presented an exhaustive review of published results to clearly demonstrate the overutilization of radical prostatectomy in the treatment of prostate cancer—having an obvious negative impact on those patients whose cancers are not life threatening or who are beyond surgical cure. This theme, fitting into the PSA screening controversy and the newly proposed AUA guidelines, was also in evidence from multiple presentations on imaging, pathologic and genetic predictors of malignant potential.  And, the growing academic interest in focal and minimally invasive alternative therapies for prostate cancer that have lower morbidity and cost," said Willet F. Whitmore III, MD, FACS.

Reflecting the latest and most advanced technology for focal prostate cancer therapy, SonaCare Medical showcased the new SmartTarget image registration and fusion software, developed by UCL (University College London) which combines and displays diagnostic information from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with live ultrasound images to enable targeted prostate treatment. SmartTarget has undergone extensive clinical evaluation at UCL, including using Smart Target in conjunction with the Sonablate® 500 as part of a UCL clinical trial led by Mark Emberton , MD, Professor of Interventional Oncology and Director of the Division of Surgery and Interventional Science at UCL. SonaCare recently announced a partnership with UCL Business PLC (UCLB), a leading technology transfer company that supports and commercializes research and innovations from UCL, to integrate SmartTarget into SonaCare Medical's innovative Sonablate 500 HIFU system as part of a project funded by the Department of Health and Wellcome Trust through the Health Innovation Challenge Fund. The Sonablate 500 is currently approved for use in over 30 countries outside the U.S.

Demonstrating significant interest in the marketplace for the only HIFU system 510(k) cleared for the laparoscopic or intraoperative ablation of soft tissue, SonaCare Medical successfully launched the Sonatherm® HIFU Surgical Ablation System at AUA.  "We are very excited by the tremendous interest and excitement generated around the launch of the Sonatherm at the AUA, as well as the growing interest from U.S. urologists to add HIFU to their practices," said Mike Klein , CEO, SonaCare Medical.  "Our vision has always been to deliver on the promise of HIFU by developing clinically relevant technologies that can address a wide range of urologic conditions. What we saw at the AUA confirms that the market is rapidly shifting towards acceptance and adoption of targeted therapy into the continuum of options urologists can offer their patients.  The tool that can successfully give urologists the ability to deliver minimally invasive ablative treatments has the opportunity to flourish in this environment."

Hosting dozens of key opinion leaders (KOLs) from top clinical centers around the United States to review its platform technology vision of developing HIFU surgical ablation systems for a wide range of urological indications, SonaCare Medical conducted HIFU advisory board meetings focused on bladder, prostate and renal.  According to Allan Pantuck , MD, MS, FACS, Professor at UCLA's Department of Urology, "I think there was a clear consensus in the advisory board meetings that the rapid evolution of minimally invasive ablative treatment technologies like the Sonatherm is aligning with the growing shift in clinical practice of focusing treatment on the cancer and not the entire gland."

SonaCare Medical's vision is to develop HIFU surgical ablation systems for a wide range of urological indications, in addition to prostate cancer, that allow for tissue targeting techniques. Sonatherm, like Sonablate 500, is powered by the unique T3 Technology, which allows physicians to: target specific tissue using integrated ultrasound imaging and sophisticated planning tools, treat targeted tissue with pinpoint accuracy while sparing untargeted tissue; and track procedure results using real-time ultrasound imaging along with advanced tissue change monitoring software.

About UCL Business PLC

UCLB is a leading technology transfer company that supports and commercialises research and innovations arising from UCL, one of the UK's top research-led universities. UCLB has a successful track record and a strong reputation for identifying and protecting promising new technologies and innovations from UCL academics. UCLB has a strong track record in commercialising medical technologies and provides technology transfer services to UCL's associated hospitals; University College London Hospitals, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the Royal Free London Hospital. It invests directly in development projects to maximise the potential of the research and manages the commercialisation process of technologies from laboratory to market.

UCLB supports UCL's Grand Challenges of increasing UCL's positive impact on and contribution to Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Intercultural Interaction and Human Wellbeing.

For further information, please visit

About UCL (University College London)

Founded in 1826, UCL was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to admit students regardless of race, class, religion or gender, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. We are among the world's top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables. UCL currently has 24,000 students from almost 140 countries, and more than 9,500 employees. Our annual income is over 800 million pounds. | Follow us on Twitter @uclnews

About the Health Innovation Challenge Fund

The Health Innovation Challenge Fund is a parallel funding partnership between the Wellcome Trust and the Department of Health to stimulate the creation of innovative healthcare products, technologies and interventions and to facilitate their development for the benefit of patients in the NHS and beyond.

About the Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust's breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests. For more information, visit

About the Department of Health

The Department of Health works to improve the health and well-being of people in England. The Department sets overall policy on all health issues and is responsible for the provision of health services through the National Health Service. 

About SonaCare Medical

SonaCare Medical, a privately held, venture-backed healthcare company is a world leader in minimally invasive high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) technologies. SonaCare Medical is committed to developing technologies for urological indications that offer precise and innovative procedures that can control cancer and reduce potential quality of life altering side effects. SonaCare Medical, with its subsidiary Focus Surgery, Inc., designs and manufactures high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) medical devices, including the following: Sonablate® 450 which is investigational in the U.S. and being studied in a pivotal FDA clinical trial as a possible treatment for recurrent prostate cancer in patients treated previously with external beam radiation therapy; Sonablate® 500 which has CE Marking and is, or has been, approved for use to treat prostate cancer in more than 30 countries outside the U.S.; and Sonatherm® laparoscopic HIFU surgical ablation system which is 510(k) cleared in the U.S. The FDA has made no decision as to the safety or efficacy of Sonablate® 450 or 500. In the event Sonablate® 450 is approved by the FDA for use in the U.S., there is no assurance that instructions for use or the specifications of the device will be the same for treatment approved or authorized in other countries outside of the U.S.

SonaCare Medical was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. Additional information may be found at

SOURCE SonaCare Medical
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