Focused Ultrasound Therapy
Focused ultrasound is an early-stage, non-invasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with ALS. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasonic energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the brain without damaging surrounding normal tissue. Where the beams converge, the ultrasound produces temporary disruption of the blood brain barrier (BBB) that may enable ALS to be treated with therapeutic agents without surgery.
The primary conventional options for treatment of ALS include medication and supportive care.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a non-invasive, effective alternative for this very difficult disease.
- Focused ultrasound may be a more successful treatment than current therapy as it may include the passage of drugs that otherwise could not cross the BBB
- It can be repeated, if necessary.
A clinical trial for temporarily opening the BBB for ALS patients is about to start recruiting more patients in Canada. This study is ONLY open to Canadian citizens. The initial report of the first 4 patients shows that the BBB of the motor region (target) can be reversibly opened by focused ultrasound without untoward side effects. This study opens the door for combining focused ultrasound BBB opening with several possible therapeutic agents.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for ALS is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
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