To treat cancerous tumors, physicians have long relied on surgery, chemotherapy and radiation — highly invasive treatments that push patients’ bodies to their limits. Surgically removing tumors requires long hospital stays, recovery times and extensive follow-ups. In the near future, all of this might change.
Medical imaging company TechsoMed is revolutionizing the way physicians treat certain tumors by combining decades-old medical methods with innovative algorithm-powered technology. They’ve set their sights on bringing a little-known cancer treatment, called thermal ablation, into mainstream use.
Chemotherapy and traditional tumor resection take a massive toll on patients, both physically and financially. These standard treatments cost tens of thousands of dollars and have serious risks and complications, often requiring days or weeks for recovery. On the other hand, thermal ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that takes under five minutes and uses local anesthesia, resulting in fewer potential complications and significantly shorter recovery times. Plus, it costs up to ten times less than the alternative.
Despite being a preferred treatment modality for tumor removal, thermal ablation has one main drawback preventing it from becoming a first-line treatment: physicians lack the ability to visualize and control the damage to tissue in real-time.
Thermal ablation works by applying intense heat to early-stage tumors, smaller than three centimeters in diameter. During a standard ablation procedure, physicians use grainy ultrasound images to identify the “estimated treatment area,” but once they start the treatment, they have no indication of the actual damage caused to the tissue. This can result in over-treatment — the destruction of excessive tissue around the tumor — or under-treatment, which can lead to tumor recurrence. An added problem: It takes up to 24 hours post-procedure to learn the effectiveness of the procedure, by then there’s not much to be done.
“This is the common practice and the gold standard,” says Yossi Abu, the founder and CEO of TechsoMed. He plans to change that.
And Abu has big plans. Ultimately, he hopes to scrap traditional ultrasound systems altogether by developing the world’s first AI-powered ultrasound machine with data gleaned from clinical sites to “take a smart ultrasound, and transform it into a smarter ultrasound.”