Centers of Excellence
Known as “medicine’s best kept secret,” focused ultrasound holds tremendous promise. When developed to its full potential, this innovative, noninvasive therapy is expected to improve and save the lives of millions of patients worldwide … patients afflicted with debilitating conditions like cancer, movement disorders, stroke and more.
Because focused ultrasound is an emerging technology, access to equipment is limited, and the pace of research is far from optimal. To escalate research and ensure it is of the highest quality, the Foundation has established the Center of Excellence initiative. Response from the focused ultrasound community has been strongly favorable, and we are now forming partnerships with industry and academic institutions to strategically expand our international network of standard-setting “luminary sites.” Locations in Europe, Asia and South America are planned.
Moving forward, the Center of Excellence initiative will include institutions with global reputations for both research and clinical care. Each site will play a unique role in advancing the field. All will serve as collaboration hubs for multidisciplinary, interdepartmental teams who perform patient care, research and teaching at the highest level.
The Center of Excellence program attained a key milestone in September 2009 with the dedication of the first site, located at the University of Virginia. The newly-constructed facility is equipped with a full complement of state-of-the-art focused ultrasound and MR technologies for treating the brain and body. The Foundation’s partners in this project were the Commonwealth of Virginia, the University of Virginia and equipment vendors.
In 2012, the Foundation will extend Center of Excellence designation to the Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden Hospital (ICR: RMH). Located near London, the site is a globally recognized leader in ultrasound physics and cancer research. It is expected to become a premier site for MR-guided focused ultrasound bone applications, quality assurance protocols and clinical training. This initiative is being led by Scientific Director Gail ter Haar, PhD and Clinical Director Nandita deSouza, MD.
The new center represents a partnership between ICR:RMH, Philips Healthcare and the Foundation. ICR:RMH is providing the MR equipment and the necessary infrastructure to support the center. Philips Healthcare is consigning the focused ultrasound technology for pre-clinical and clinical studies.