Theraclion, a company specialized in medical equipment for echotherapy, has shared results of a study exploring Graves’ disease treatment by echotherapy using Echopulse, a high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) treatment.

Graves’ disease (GD) is an autoimmune thyroid disorder caused by the presence of autoantibodies stimulating the TSH receptor. It is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism and approximately 3% of women and 0.5% of men develop GD in their lifetime.

Theraclion estimates that the availability of a non-surgical, non-radioactive approach to treat persistent or recurrent hyperthyroidism has the potential to expand the volume of thyroid procedures by 40% compared to current indication to treat benign thyroid nodules.

In many parts of the world, anti-thyroid drugs (ATD) have been the preferred initial treatment for GD. However, once a patient remains or continues to be hyperthyroid after an 18-month or longer course of ATDs, definitive treatments such as surgery or radioactive iodine therapy are generally recommended.

Nevertheless, a substantial proportion of patients prefer to continue receiving ATDs instead of proceeding to surgery or RAI therapy because of surgical risks and radiation fear.

This series of cases was performed and assessed by Brian Hung-Hin Lang, MD, clinical associate professor, Department of Surgery, chief of the Endocrine Surgery Division at the Queen Mary University Hospital in Hong Kong.

A group of 30 consecutive patients with persistent or relapsed GD treated between November 2015 and February 2016 was examined for thyroid function at baseline, at 2 and 4 weeks and 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 months following the treatment performed by Echopulse and clinically assessed at the same time.

The patients treated with Echopulse showed at 12 months follow-up:

  • An overall remission rate of 73,3%, which means a relief from hyperthyroidism,
  • A significant decrease in the autoantibodies (anti TSHr),
  • Absence of complications in terms of ophthalmic parameters and anti-thyroid antibody levels evolution.
  • In 96,7% of the cases, patients completed the echotherapy treatment within one session and were discharged on the day of the treatment. This would imply superiority in terms of cost effectiveness compared to surgery.

“US-guided HIFU ablation of the thyroid may be a safe and efficacious treatment in patients with persistent or relapsed GD, offering patients an alternative to invasive surgery or radioactive iodine, a treatment which many patients refuse, especially in Asia,” says Lang.

Theraclion continues the development of new indications, pioneering non-invasive ultrasound treatment as an alternative to surgical procedures and radioactive iodine treatment,” says Sylvain Yon, deputy CEO and vice president of research and development at Theraclion. Just as the breast cancer FDA trial authorization, these first results are extremely encouraging, and could add another indication to the panel of indications Echopulse can treat, which would be welcomed by our current as well as future Echopulse users.”

Single-session high-intensity focused ultrasound treatment for persistent or relapsed Graves’ disease: preliminary experience in a prospective study” is available online on PubMed.