Researchers are currently evaluating the effectiveness of an experimental procedure that utilizes focused ultrasound heating, monitored and controlled by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to destroy uterine fibroids. In previous studies, this ultrasound-based treatment has been shown to be effective in treating breast tumors.
Researchers are also currently investigating novel therapeutic strategies that target fibroid growth factors and their receptors. Promising therapeutic agents currently under evaluation are the antifibrolytic drug, pirfenidone and a human protein called interferon-alpha.
Photodynamic therapy is an investigational procedure that has shown some promise in reducing heavy bleeding with minimal side effects. The technique involves the intravenous administration of a light-sensitive, cell-killing drug that is absorbed by the endometrium. A small probe is then inserted into the uterine cavity, through which laser light is transmitted for a few minutes. The light activates the cell-killing drug and the endometrium is destroyed.
Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) is another investigational procedure that administers low-level electrical pulses to suppress back pain. The technique is being investigated for blocking pain in the uterus.
A microwave device developed by Microsulis Corporation is also being tested to destroy the uterine lining. Microwave endometrial ablation applies very low-power microwaves to the uterus, which limits tissue destruction only to the lining without causing any unnecessary harm to other tissues.