Currently, surgery is the standard treatment for removing kidney tumours. Treatments, such as partial nephrectomy where the part of the kidney containing the tumour is removed, and thermal ablation where needles at very high or very low temperatures are used to destroy the tumour, are used. These treatments are unpleasant and there can be complications, such as bleeding and infection.

A new method for destroying kidney tumours without the need for surgery or needles has been developed. It is called histotripsy. Histotripsy uses advanced scanning techniques to direct a beam of focussed sound energy directly into the tumour. This destroys the tumour cells without damaging healthy surrounding kidney tissue, preserves kidney function, and eliminates certain complications seen with existing surgical and ablative treatments.

A clinical trial called CAIN is being conducted in Leeds by Professor Tze Min Wah, Senior Consultant Radiologist and Clinical Lead for Interventional Oncology Program at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, to investigate this procedure further. CAIN is a phase I multicenter study looking at the safety and effectiveness of the histotripsy technique in targeting and destroying primary kidney tumours without the need for surgery or needles.