US-based medical technology company GE HealthCare and Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk have teamed up to advance the development of peripheral-focused ultrasound (PFUS).

PFUS technology is designed to specifically regulate metabolic function in the body using ultrasound, for the treatment of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Under the collaboration, GE HealthCare and Novo Nordisk will jointly develop a PFUS solution to improve patient care.

Both parties will contribute their individual expertise in ultrasound and metabolic disease treatment and management, extending foundational research done by GE HealthCare.

GE HealthCare ultrasound president and CEO Roland Rott said: “In an era where diabetes is increasing around the globe, we are enthusiastic about the potential for ultrasound to help people live healthier lives.

“This collaboration with Novo Nordisk opens a path to evolve ultrasound from a means of screening and diagnosis into therapy, as well.

“We are eager to validate and further develop this potentially ground-breaking science, as we strive to offer patients alternative treatment options for chronic diseases.”

The PFUS technology was originally developed by a team of scientists at GE HealthCare’s HealthCare Technology and Innovation Centre, previously a part of the GE Research Centre.

It is a non-invasive bioelectronic therapy that leverages ultrasound to activate the nervous system to stimulate a response that may be able to treat disease.

With further clinical validation, PFUS may represent a non-pharmacologic approach to normalise blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

According to the pre-clinical proof of concept and initial early-stage clinical research, personalised ultrasound stimulation of nerve pathways may impact glucose metabolism in people with diabetes.

Novo Nordisk executive vice president and development head Martin Holst Lange said: “We look forward to exploring the potential impact this technology could have on treating people with type 2 diabetes and obesity, as significant unmet needs remain in these diseases in spite of recent advances in care.

“Although early, the possibilities of using ultrasound for therapeutic purposes are compelling and we welcome our collaboration with GE HealthCare in this truly novel area.”