Micro-Ultrasound Technology Could Be a Leap Forward for Prostate Cancer Patients

Dr. Andres Correa, urologic oncologist and assistant professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology
Dr. Andres Correa, urologic oncologist and assistant professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology

PHILADELPHIA (October 20, 2020)—Fox Chase Cancer Center has unveiled a new micro-ultrasound system that physicians say could change the way prostate cancer is diagnosed and treated.

The ExactVu Micro-Ultrasound System builds upon the standard transrectal ultrasound, typically used for prostate procedures, by featuring a 300% improvement in resolution, allowing physicians to identify prostate cancer tumors with accuracy comparable to MRI.

“Traditionally, prostate cancer has been diagnosed via random prostate biopsies, which is unconventional given that most cancers are typically diagnosed using some type of imaging modality such as mammograms for breast cancer or chest X-rays for lung cancer. The biopsy is then guided to the area of concern to obtain a diagnosis,” said Andres F. Correa, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology at Fox Chase.

“The standard transrectal ultrasound used in prostate biopsies is mainly used to localize the prostate rather than identifying any suspicious lesions,” he added.

Correa said MRI has become increasingly prevalent in diagnosing prostate cancer because it allows doctors to identify prostate lesions of concern, thus enabling them to be more precise in diagnosing prostate cancer. More importantly, it allows them to avoid an invasive procedure in patients with negative imaging.

“The Exact Micro-Ultrasound System replaces the prostate MRI, as it allows us to visualize the architecture of the prostate, which was not possible with a standard ultrasound. A standard ultrasound is about 6 to 12 MHz, whereas this one goes up to 29 MHz. With the increase in resolution, changes in the prostate architecture are easily identified that correspond to potential prostate cancer sites, which allows for real-time targeted biopsy,” Correa said.

“In addition to offering significant advantages to the diagnosis and monitoring of prostate cancer, ExactVu can also prove to be invaluable in the treatment of prostate cancer,” said Rosalia Viterbo, MD, FACS, an associate professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology. Correa said Viterbo was “instrumental” in securing the funds to purchase the technology, which was raised from patients and other donors.

“It can help with the surgical removal of the prostate by allowing the surgeon to navigate around high-risk lesions and optimize cancer control and nerve sparing. This translates into improved quality of life for our patient from a continence and sexual recovery standpoint,” Viterbo added.

“We are proud that such a highly-regarded institution as Fox Chase Cancer Center affirms the value of the Micro-Ultrasound technology we’ve developed,” said Randy AuCoin, CEO of Exact Imaging, the company that makes the system.

Correa said the technology is key in patients who present with elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen, which is an indicator for prostate cancer. Typically, these patients either undergo random prostate biopsy, which in many cases is unnecessary, or are referred to have a prostate MRI, which can become an added expense depending on their insurance coverage.

The new ultrasound system allows the treating physician to perform a prostate ultrasound exam during an office visit. The exam would allow the physician to determine if there were any prostate lesions, just like with an MRI, and if needed, to perform the necessary biopsy. The ability to perform the entire prostate exam in a single visit is “incredibly beneficial” to the patient as it limits the number of patients visits and the amount of testing necessary, Correa said.

The system also offers a significant advantage for patients who are actively monitoring their prostate cancer. The use of active surveillance in prostate cancer has dramatically improved the life of many patients, Correa said, especially those diagnosed with low-risk or non-aggressive prostate cancer.

During the monitoring phase, it is crucial for the physician to accurately recognize if the cancer is worsening and offer a more aggressive treatment plan if needed. “The ExactVu system not only allows the urologist to evaluate for new lesions of concern, but also tracks previously observed lesions over time so we can better gauge if the cancer is changing,” Correa said.

The ExactVu system is an exciting addition to Fox Chase Cancer Center and the Philadelphia region, Correa said, as it provides one of the most cutting-edge imaging technologies available for the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.

About Exact Imaging

Exact Imaging is the world’s leader in high-resolution micro-ultrasound systems enabling real-time imaging and guided biopsies in the urological market for prostate cancer. Exact Imaging’s ExactVu™ micro-ultrasound platform operates at 29 MHz and enables a new level of resolution with the benefits of ease of use, affordability, and is an extension of the current urological workflow. Using the Exact Imaging platform, urologists are able to visualize areas of interest in the prostate and target biopsies at those areas. For those cases where MRI might assist, the FusionVu™ micro-US/MRI fusion application operates on the ExactVu micro-ultrasound platform and facilitates fast, simple MRI fusion-based targeting with the guidance of the micro-ultrasound system’s 70-micron real-time resolution. The ExactVu micro-ultrasound system including the FusionVu application has received regulatory approval in the European Union (CE Mark), the United States (FDA 510(k)), and Canada (Health Canada medical device license). For more information on Exact Imaging, please visit their website www.exactimaging.com.

Fox Chase Cancer Center (Fox Chase), which includes the Institute for Cancer Research and the American Oncologic Hospital and is a part of Temple Health, is one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase is also one of just 10 members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence six consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.

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