The Foundation considers the brain to be the vanguard target for focused ultrasound.
Given the challenges of accessing the brain and the high cost and limitations of some current approaches, we believe that this non-invasive technology has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of many brain disorders.
Focused ultrasound has the potential to:
- transform treatment by gaining access deep within the brain without harming healthy tissue;
- ablate targeted tissue without exposing the brain to the effects of ionizing radiation; and
- enable the reversible opening of the blood-brain barrier to deliver therapeutic agents to targeted diseased areas.
The Foundation’s Brain Program convenes experts around the globe to accelerate research and development of the technology for a range of disorders. The program helps to identify and overcome technical challenges, optimize the technology, and create a strategic pathway of advancing clinical research. We are currently working with leading U.S. neurosurgery research centers to advance focused ultrasound for several movement disorders. The publication of focused ultrasound treatment for essential tremor in the New England Journal of Medicine is an incredible milestone for our brain program and demonstrates the potential of the technology.
Results from a pivotal trial assessing focused ultrasound to treat essential tremor are expected in late 2015. If the results are positive, this may lead to the first FDA approval to treat a neurological condition with focused ultrasound. There is a focused ultrasound system approved in Europe for the treatment of essential tremor, neuropathic pain and Parkinsonian tremor.
Patient participation in clinical trials is critical to advancing focused ultrasound treatment for brain disorders. Clinical research is ongoing for the treatment of brain tumors, essential tremor, Parkinsonian tremor and dyskinesia in Parkinson’s disease at a few leading centers in the US, Canada and Asia.