Leading HIFU expert begins U.S.-based program with treatment of first prostate cancer patients
December 7, 2015
Patients with prostate cancer are now being treated with minimally invasive, high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) therapy, following the October 2015 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory authorization for prostate tissue ablation with the Sonablate HIFU device. The leading U.S. HIFU expert, Vituro Health Medical Director Stephen Scionti, M.D., has begun U.S.-based HIFU procedures.
Scionti is the first partner physician of Vituro Health, a comprehensive prostate care provider that empowers men during all stages of life. Prior to the FDA clearance, Scionti had been involved in the treatment of approximately 1,000 patients over the last decade at the International HIFU Prostate Cancer Centers in the Caribbean and Mexico and as lead proctor for the FDA trials in the United States.
“Ten years ago, I saw HIFU as an incredible opportunity to improve the care of prostate cancer patients because the modalities we were using then had such significant limitations with significant side effects,” Scionti said. “I became an early adopter of HIFU because of the promise of an outpatient, non-invasive procedure where we could customize treatment to the patient through proper understanding of where the tumor was in their prostate.”
Scionti says HIFU offers an opportunity – in properly selected patients – to treat cancer with a much reduced side-effect profile that preserves quality of life, including less chance of urinary leakage and sexual issues, which are common results after a radical prostatectomy, the traditional treatment.
On Dec. 4, 2015, 61-year-old Graceville, Fla., resident Daniel Hazell was the first patient of Scionti’s to be treated with HIFU on American soil. While he did not have to travel to a foreign country for his HIFU procedure – he was prepared to do so prior to the FDA clearance.
“Dr. Scionti explains all available options, but HIFU sounded best to me because it targeted only the cancer cells and had a speedy recovery time,” Hazell said. “Dr. Scionti’s bedside manner also made me really comfortable; I knew I was in good hands. Most doctors don’t spend a lot of time with you, but he does.”
Hazell says that just hours after his procedure he was able to go out to dinner, and two days later, he is feeling good.
“The success of Mr. Hazell’s case is the result of many of years of hard work. His procedure went smoothly – it was typical of how my procedures go,” Scionti said. “A rapid return to normalcy is a major advantage with HIFU. Within a week, patients won’t even notice that they had a procedure done.”
Patients are not the only ones to directly benefit from Scionti’s experience. Scionti is directly involved in the training process for urologists interested in incorporating HIFU technology into their practices. He has proctored procedures of more than 80 urologists at Sonacare’s international centers of excellence and served as director of Clinical Education and Training for USHIFU and SonaCare Medical, the manufacturer of the Sonablate.
“With HIFU, you cannot shortcut training or experience, which is why Vituro Health guides partner physicians through the extensive training protocol that is required to master highly complex HIFU procedures,” Scionti said. “If you’re a patient and want the advantages of this non-invasive revolutionary technology, do your homework and find the best physician with the most HIFU experience that you can; good outcomes are obtained by skilled and highly experienced HIFU physicians.”
“Dr. Scionti honestly is the best in this field – he’s done more HIFU cases than anyone else in the country,” said Clete Walker, CEO of Vituro Health. “Vituro Health wanted to partner with the leading physician so we can educate our patients and physician partners because that’s the most important thing.”
“If people are willing to trust their prostate health to a new procedure, they want to trust it to someone who has the most experience with this revolutionary procedure. In my opinion, that is Dr. Scionti,” Walker said.
Scionti will perform ten more HIFU procedures in 2015 and has several already scheduled for early 2016.
About Vituro Health
Vituro Health empowers men with comprehensive prostate care during all stages of their lives. We arm partner physicians with HIFU (high intensity focused ultrasound) technology and other patient-centric, concierge services to elevate the standard of care and patient experiences. Vituro Health is headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., and serves patients and physicians nationwide.