The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

First UK patients have liver cancer successfully treated using pioneering non-invasive ultrasound technology

15 September 2021

Two patients have become the first in the UK to undergo a pioneering new treatment for liver cancer in a partnership between St James’s Hospital in Leeds and the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle as part of US-based HistoSonics’ #HOPE4LIVER study. 

Sheila Riley, 68 from Bradford and another patient from Newcastle received the treatment which uses the novel science of histotripsy, a form of therapeutic focused ultrasound, to destroy targeted primary and metastatic liver tumours without the need for invasive incisions or needles entering the patient’s body. The treatment in Leeds took a record-breaking six minutes and 58 seconds to complete. 

Histosonics HOPE4LIVER trialThe first treatment using the new technology by HistoSonics was undertaken at a Florida hospital in February 2021 with a patient in Germany subsequently becoming the first in Europe. Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust is the first location in the UK to enrol patients in the #HOPE4LIVER study and is working in collaboration with Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to deliver the treatment to patients in Leeds and Newcastle. It is hoped that following a successful trial this new method of treatment will become available more widely for eligible patients in the UK. 

Dr Tze Min Wah, Senior Consultant Radiologist in Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust who is leading the #HOPE4LIVER trial in Leeds, said: “It is exciting to be given this opportunity to lead this pioneering trial using histotripsy to treat liver cancer. This is the first ‘surgical’ treatment of liver cancer that requires no needles or scalpels. In addition, this procedure also involves no radiation. There is a real potential to truly shift the paradigm of liver cancer treatment in the future with this innovative technology and further potential for translation into cancer treatment of other sites.” 

Sheila said: “My cancer was first diagnosed in June 2021 and I was over the moon to be offered this new treatment so quickly. Whilst I was in hospital the care I received was first class; I got looked after like a Queen! I feel very fortunate to have had this treatment; I was discharged the following day and have continued recuperating at home.” 

Dr Peter Littler, Consultant Interventional Radiologist at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle said: “This is fascinating cutting edge technology with the potential to kill a liver cancer without breaking the skin. 

“It was very exciting for our team to deliver the first treatment in the UK. It is a pleasure to work with colleagues in Leeds to offer this treatment to our patients as part of the HOPE4LIVER trial.”