Xu Lab

The goal of our laboratory is to develop image-guided ultrasound therapy techniques to improve current surgical methods – to replace scalpels and catheters with invisible beams that can penetrate the body and remove tissues without invasive incisions. By focusing high-intensity ultrasound pulses on the targeted tissue, a cluster of microbubbles is generated, and the energetic growth and collapse of these microbubbles can disrupt cellular structures. This ultrasound-induced microbubble activity is referred to as acoustic cavitation. A new technology is being developed at the University of Michigan to precisely control cavitation for mechanical tissue fractionation and removal. This technology is called histotripsy to reflect the desired end-result – soft tissue (“histo” in Greek) breakdown (“tripsy”). The entire histotripsy treatment is guided and monitored by real-time ultrasound imaging.

Histotripsy is platform technology with many clinical applications where non-invasive tissue removal is desired. Our lab began developing histotripsy for cardiovascular and prenatal applications. The applications we are currently investigating include non-invasive removal of blood clots (thrombolysis), rapid ablation of large tumors, treatment of congenital heart diseases, and prenatal therapy. We are also interested in the mechanistic study of acoustic cavitation. For detailed information of current projects, please see the Research Projects page.


Surgery without knives or needles video – as featured in Medicine at Michigan Magazine online