The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Research and Innovation

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, (UK) Performs World First Non-Invasive Histotripsy in Patient with Primary Solid Renal Tumor

30 March 2023

World first procedure to target and destroy kidney tumour takes place at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

  • This marked the initial treatment in the Histosonics sponsored “CAIN” Trial
  • Anthony Harris aged 73 from Castleford was the first patient in the World to receive this novel approach to treatment of a kidney tumour
  • Following an overnight stay for observation, Mr Harris was able to return home and continue recovery
  • This demonstrates that Leeds is a City working at the forefront of leading-edge research and innovation

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and HistoSonics, (, the developer of a non-invasive platform and novel sonic beam therapy called histotripsy, announced today the first kidney patient has been treated using the Company’s histotripsy platform.

The procedure was performed in Leeds, UK, by Professor Tze Min Wah, Professor of Interventional Radiology at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, UK. This procedure marks the initial treatment in the HistoSonics sponsored “CAIN” Trial which is a Phase I prospective, multi-center study designed to evaluate the safety and technical success of the Company’s histotripsy system in targeting and destroying primary solid renal tumors, completely non-invasively and without the need for incisions or needles.

The trial is named in honor of Charles Cain PhD, former Chair of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan, co-inventor of histotripsy, and co-founder of HistoSonics, who passed away in March of 2020.

“This first treatment is a significant milestone for the Company as it represents expansion into our second active clinical application (after liver) and supports our mission to deliver histotripsy to patients who may potentially benefit from its unique capabilities,” commented Mike Blue, President, and CEO of HistoSonics. Blue added, “Our goal is to enable physicians to precisely target and destroy kidney tumors with our novel, noninvasive solution, avoiding the morbidity and complications seen with current invasive surgery or ablative techniques.”

Anthony Harris, aged 73 from Castleford, received the treatment which uses the novel science of histotripsy, a form of therapeutic focused ultrasound. This destroys tumours without the need for invasive incisions or needles entering the patient’s body. Following an overnight stay and monitoring in hospital Mr Harris was able to return home to his family.

Mr Harris said: “One day, I noticed blood in my urine - I contacted my doctor straight away and I had a prostate biopsy in December 2022. This was negative for prostate cancer. I was then sent for a CT scan and this showed a growth on my right kidney. The consultant asked me if I would like to take part in a trial of a new treatment for kidney cancer.

I was quite honoured to be the first person in the world to receive this treatment at the hospital. From the minute I went to see the doctor last December, the ball has moved really fast. I’m hopeful about the outcome of the surgery and I think this could really benefit other people affected by kidney cancer.”

Professor Tze Min Wah, Professor of Interventional Radiology, at the St James University Hospital, Leeds UK performed the procedure said: “I was delighted to lead the clinical team in carrying out this world first treatment for kidney cancer. It is a real privilege that my patient, Mr Harris and his family trusted our clinical team to translate this innovative technology as the global first in the treatment of renal tumors. The CAIN trial represents a significant milestone for kidney cancer treatment with histotripsy as a needle-less technology and a paradigm shift from this point onwards for kidney cancer treatment generally.

Professor Phil Wood, Chief Executive at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said: I was very pleased to hear that this world first trial in cancer treatment took place in Leeds, at St James University Hospital. Delivering continuous innovation and inclusive research is a strategic priority for the Trust.

This world first demonstrates that in Leeds we are truly working at the forefront of leading-edge research and innovation. I was delighted to hear that the patient involved in the procedure is recovering well after a short stay in hospital. As a Trust, our mission is to deliver the highest quality, safe, effective, and innovative care which improves health outcomes. New approaches to cancer treatment, exemplified by the CAIN trial demonstrate our commitment to this mission.”

Current kidney therapies such as partial nephrectomy and thermal ablation are invasive and exhibit complications from bleeding and infection that non-invasive histotripsy may avoid. While surgical intervention is the “gold standard” in removing kidney tumors, a non-invasive approach with histotripsy provides the potential to destroy targeted tissue without damaging non-targeted kidney tissue. Additionally, histotripsy’s purely mechanical mechanism of cellular destruction could preserve function of the kidney’s urine collecting system and eliminate certain complications seen with existing invasive approaches.

HistoSonics' image guided sonic beam therapy system uses advanced imaging and proprietary sensing technology to deliver non-invasive, personalized treatments with precision and control. The science of histotripsy uses focused sound energy to produce controlled acoustic cavitation that mechanically destroys and liquifies targeted tissue at sub-cellular levels. The company believes that the novel mechanism of action of their proprietary technology provides significant advantages to patients, including the ability of the treatment site to recover and resorb quickly. Uniquely, the HistoSonics’ platform also provides physicians the ability to monitor the destruction of tissue under continuous real-time visualization and control, unlike any modality that exists today.

HistoSonics histotripsy systems are not currently available for sale. Any use is limited to clinical investigations. The HistoSonics Edison™ System is pending FDA review for a destruction of liver tissue indication. The CAIN Trial is expected to support a future expansion of the indication to include the destruction of kidney tissue.