Faculty Research

Physician scientists in the Department of Urology at IU School of Medicine are contributing substantially to the advancement of patient care in urologic cancer, pediatric reconstruction, stone treatments and other areas.

Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Physicists and engineers at Indiana University pioneered high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) in the 1970s. On April 26, 2000, at a cancer symposium at Indiana University School of Medicine, the first research protocol was crafted for HIFU prostate treatment in the United States. Through continued work, urology researchers at the school helped advance this focal treatment.

In 2007, Dr. Koch with others at IU School of Medicine published on the first 20 patients treated with HIFU in United States [Koch MO, Gardner TA, Cheng L et al. Phase I/II Trial of High Intensity Focused Ultrasound for the Treatment of Previously Untreated Localized Prostate Cancer. J Urol. 2007 Dec;178(6):2366-70.]. The study showed that the treatment had few side effects and had the potential to be an effective treatment option for early-stage prostate cancer. They found that ablation of the whole gland can cause temporary swelling and the need for a temporary urinary catheter. This increased the interest in focal or partial-gland ablation. Subsequent studies on HIFU partial gland treatment have demonstrated preservation of erections in close to 90% and a 100% pad-free rate by three months.

The first HIFU system (Sonablate®) was manufactured in Indianapolis in 1996 for a company called Focus Surgery. SonaCare Medical, LLC was established in 2013. Sonablate® became the first device approved by the FDA for HIFU in 2015.

Clinical Trials

The Department of Urology participates in clinical trials that explore new therapeutic treatments for urologic problems. Participating in clinical trials offers patients the opportunity to receive new treatments while contributing to the future of health care. Patients who participate in clinical trials receive especially close, personalized care by a specialized team of urologists and clinical research coordinators. Participation in these studies may have additional benefits of free medication, study related tests, x-rays and exams or even financial compensation.

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