• 1st Quarter 2018 Foundation Research Awards

    The Foundation has recently funded four research studies. Three of the projects – at Ohio State University, Weill Cornell Medical Center, and Stanford University – aim to improve the way focused ultrasound is used to treat brain disorders. The fourth – at the University of Virginia – will investigate whether focused ultrasound can improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy in breast cancer patients. The Foundation has recently funded four research studies. Three of the projects – at Ohio State University, Weill Cornell Medical Center, and Stanford University – aim to improve the way focused ultrasound is used to treat brain disorders. The fourth – at the University of Virginia – will investigate whether focused ultrasound can improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy in breast cancer patients. 

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  • Insightec Partners with Virginia Tech for Brain Research, Closes $150 Million Series E Funding Round

    In a partnership facilitated by the Foundation, Insightechas selected Virginia Tech’s Carilion Research Institute (VTCRI) as its first nonclinical research site for developing new treatment options for brain disorders. VTCRI scientists will use Insightec’s Exablate Neuro system paired with a Siemens MRI unit to study potential applications for attacking brain tumors, opening the blood-brain barrier to deliver therapeutics, and treating psychiatric disorders using FUS-induced neuromodulation.

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  • February 2018 Research Roundup

    In addition to the special issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery, several other papers are important to note this month. A clinical trial for neuromodulation of the thalamus was conducted at the University of Minnesota, opening the door for brain mapping with focused ultrasound. Physicians share their clinical experience using focused ultrasound to treat various types of pediatric tumors. Patients with cancer pain may soon benefit from a multi-modality approach developed through an international collaboration.

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  • Meeting Report: Therapeutic Ultrasound Featured at AAAS Annual Meeting

    “Revolutionizing Ultrasound Applications for Treating Disease” was the title of a scientific session held during the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) February 15–19, 2018, in Austin, TX. The workshop proved to be an auspicious opportunity to raise awareness of therapeutic ultrasound with a large and diverse audience of international scientists. The 90-minute session offered attendees a review of new therapeutic applications for ultrasound that are “revolutionizing the treatment of disease: surgery without cutting, drug delivery without systemic exposure, and permeation without tearing.” It also touted the technology’s ability to improve patient outcomes and lower the cost of care. For the technically oriented crowd, the session described the science behind acoustic wave manipulation and the latest research in key applications.

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  • January 2018 Research Roundup

    How are the first essential tremor patients treated with focused ultrasound doing now, two years later? Can the right carrier improve drug delivery to the brain? The January Research Roundup answers these questions and includes a technical paper that describes an acoustic lens that might improve focused ultrasound treatments in the brain. 

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  • Foundation Funded Research Update – Focused Ultrasound for Neuromodulation

    Focused ultrasound has the potential to become a new, and potentially more effective, tool for non-invasive neuromodulation of regional brain function. A Foundation-funded research study to test its use in vivo without interference from anesthesia has recently been completed at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Wonhye Lee, PhD (pictured below), Seung-Schik Yoo, PhD, MBA, and their colleagues designed and tested wearable devices for evaluating this capability.

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  • Meeting Report: Biomedical Engineering Society

    The Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) held their annual meetingOctober 11-14, 2017 in Phoenix, AZ. Nine focused ultrasound presentations were selected for the agenda, and they covered topics such as the use of pulsed focused ultrasound to modulate an immune response in breast and melanoma tumor models; the use of focused ultrasound and microbubbles for cancer therapy; a new idea for prostate cancer treatment; and the development of novel tools for studying focused ultrasound for brain neuromodulation. Two teams developed simulation tools for transcranial research. The Foundation funded the Brigham and Women’s/Harvard Medical School neuromodulation study.

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  • In Memoriam: Juergen Willmann, MD

    We are sad to report that Dr. Juergen Willmann, a champion for focused ultrasound at Stanford University, passed away January 8 at the age of 45.

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  • Site Profile: The University of Calgary

    University of Calgary researchers with the Hotchkiss Brain Institute in the Cumming School of Medicine are combining expertise and resources to bring the first comprehensive focused ultrasound brain program to Western Canada. Physicians and scientists from the departments of Clinical Neurosciences, Radiology, and Psychiatry have all joined together for this project. Clinical treatments for essential tremorhave begun under the direction of neurosurgeon Dr. Zelma Kiss. Research teams will also conduct basic and clinical research under the direction of Bruce Pike, PhD, professor of Radiology and Clinical Neurosciences. We recently interviewed the Calgary team to learn more about the entire program.

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  • First Clinical Trial Combining Focused Ultrasound and an Immuno-Oncology Drug Begins for Breast Cancer

    A ground-breaking clinical trial for women diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast canceris now enrolling patients at the University of Virginia Health System.

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  • Foundation-Funded Research Update: Focused Ultrasound Ablation for Cardiac Arrhythmias

    For patients with cardiac arrhythmias, focused ultrasound energy via thermal ablation may have the potential to block the abnormal electrical impulses, thus restoring normal cardiac rhythms and providing alternative management for chronic atrial fibrillation and similar conditions. A foundation-funded research study on this topic has recently been completed at LabTAU – a Focused Ultrasound Center of Excellence and a part of INSERM (the French equivalent of the National Institutes of Health). Cyril Lafon, PhD, (the 2016-2017 Merkin Fellow) and his team designed and tested transesophageal probes to apply minimally invasive thermal ablation to cardiac tissue.

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  • Clinical Trial Begins in Canada for Facet Arthritis Low Back Pain

    A new focused ultrasound company, FUSMobile, has opened enrollment for its first clinical study in Canada.

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  • Investigator Profile: Matthew Bucknor, MD

    As the lead clinician at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine in performing focused ultrasound treatments, Matthew Bucknor, MD, Assistant Professor of Radiology, has used the technology to perform more than 30 procedures on 20 patients. This, combined with his prior work at Stanford, makes him one of the most experienced physicians in the country who is treating patients with musculoskeletal diseases using focused ultrasound.

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  • 12-Year-Old Osteoid Osteoma Patient Back to Scoring Goals, Turning Double Plays after Focused Ultrasound Treatment

    John Pizzi was an active, athletic young boy excelling in both soccer and baseball when, at age 11, his mother says he started experiencing severe, persistent pain in one of his legs. Thinking perhaps he had shin splints or a stress fracture, John’s parents tried various home remedies including icing and ibuprofen, but nothing provided permanent relief.

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  • Results of Focused Ultrasound Treatment of Osteoid Osteoma Published

    Karun Sharma, MD, PhD, Director of Interventional Radiology, and colleagues at Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC, have completed their clinical trial to treat benign but painful bone tumors (osteoid osteoma) in children. They have published the results, which demonstrated safety and efficacy for focused ultrasound, and then compared the results to a historical control group of children treated with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in The Journal of Pediatrics. Children’s National was the first children’s hospital in the US to conduct a clinical trial using focused ultrasound to treat pediatric osteoid osteoma with the Philips V2 Sonalleve system.

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  • Ellie Block Supports Pediatric Research and More

    Ellie Block, generous donor and Council Member, recently spoke with the Foundation about her interest in focused ultrasound, her involvement with the Foundation, and her commitment to pediatric initiatives.

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  • Turkish Neurosurgeon/Businessman Selected as Foundation-Funded Fellow

    Murat Karabiyikoglu, MD, MBA – a former life-science investment professional with the credentials of a former clinically active neurosurgeon – has joined the Foundation as a research fellow on a J-1 Research Visa, where he will participate as a member of the Foundation’s Brain Technical Research Team as well as conduct independent research projects to help make the case for commercial adoption of the technology.

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  • Foundation Receives Transformative $10 Million Contribution

    FUF Logo Gradient CMYKjpegAn exceptionally generous, anonymous donor has made a pledge of $10 million of unrestricted funds to be matched 1-for-1 by 2022.

    This pledge comes at a pivotal time for the Foundation and the focused ultrasound field, as research and access are expanding at a rapid rate. The Foundation's annual budget is approximately $10 million for each of the next three years, and this transformative gift will help to accelerate the development and adoption of focused ultrasound.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Clinical Trial Begins for Patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

    Researchers at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto have begun a new clinical trial to evaluate the feasibility and safety of focused ultrasound to alleviate symptoms in patients with refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). To date, three of six patients have been treated.

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  • Trial for Comparative Treatment of Osteoid Osteomas Announced at UC San Francisco and Stanford

    The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Stanford University are currently enrolling participants in a comparative trial of osteoid osteoma in pediatric patients. This study will compare CT-guided radiofrequency ablation (CTgRFA) with high-intensity focused ultrasound, comparing pain reduction between the two treatments along with procedural experience and quality of life during recovery.

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  • Meeting Report: AAPM 2017

    AAPM 2017 Logo Square Final 01The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) held their annual meeting from July 30 through August 2 in Denver. The focused ultrasound presentations covered topics ranging from the history of cancer immunotherapy and the role FUS can play in immunomodulation; clinical case studies in the use of FUS for the treatment of bone tumors and movement disorders; and the development of new FUS devices for brain treatments. “Many of the clinicians who attended this meeting share our views on open science and collaboration,” said the Foundation’s Director of Extramural Research, Matt Eames, PhD, after attending the sessions. “I was pleased to hear how the principles that are permeating our work at the Foundation (and other medical not-for-profit organizations) are also being advocated in the medical physicist community.”

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  • 2017 Summer Interns Contribute to FUS Field

    middleditch interns 250The talented group of interns participating in the sixth year of the Foundation’s summer internship program included four college students who worked on projects ranging from focused ultrasound patient registries to the use of 3D-printed lenses for transcranial FUS. They were recently able to showcase their projects during a lunch time presentation to Leigh Middleditch (pictured right, with three of the four interns), who is on the Board of the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, the generous funder of this summer program.

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  • Raising Awareness about Essential Tremor among Consumers

    The Foundation recently spoke with Rick Schallhorn, Vice President of Neurosurgery, and Xen Mendelsohn Aderka, Vice President of Marketing, for Israel-based Insightec, the company behind focused ultrasound technology for essential tremor (ET). They share their efforts to increase awareness for the focused ultrasound treatment for ET.

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  • Meeting Update: WSSFN

    The 17th quadrennial meeting of the World Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery (WSSFN) was held June 26-29 in Berlin. Data from two key Foundation-funded studies were presented at the meeting, including the blood-brain barrier opening for Alzheimer’s disease, and the Parkinson’s dyskinesia study co-funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. “The international neurosurgical community is paying attention to focused ultrasound,” said Focused Ultrasound Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD.

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  • Cancer Research Institute Hosts Patient Summit Series

    The Cancer Research Institute kicked off their 2017 Immunotherapy Patient Summit Series with the first event in San Francisco on July 8.

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  • Entrepreneur Bill Crutchfield Supported Foundation Vision from Beginning

    If anyone can appreciate the entrepreneurial model of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, it would be Bill Crutchfield, founder of the Crutchfield Corporation. With only $1,000 in capital and working from the family garage, Crutchfield founded the Crutchfield Corporation in 1974. That company grew quickly into the consumer electronics giant that it remains today. In its first full year, the Crutchfield Corporation had $224,000 in sales; in 2017 they will approach $300 million.

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  • Essential Tremor Marks One Year Since FDA Approval

    The field of focused ultrasound achieved a critical milestone in July 2016 with the approval of the first ever brain indication for the technology in the US. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Insightec’s Exablate Neuro focused ultrasound system for the non-invasive treatment of essential tremor (ET), the most common movement disorder.

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  • Advancing Focused Ultrasound for Movement Disorders

    Insightec’s Exablate Neuro is approved in the US, Canada, Europe, Israel, Korea, Japan, and Russia for the treatment of essential tremor. It is also "CE marked" (a manufacturer’s indication that a product conforms with relevant legislation applicable to their product and therefore is permitted for use) to treat Parkinsonian tremor and neuropathic pain. Researchers around the world are working to assess the system in the treatment of several other related movement disorders.

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  • Notable Student Research Awards

    The Foundation strives to cultivate the next generation of scientists working in the field of focused ultrasound. We are proud to announce that three such young researchers, Guillaume Maimbourg, Sarah Brüningk, and Amirah Aly, have earned awards for their work. Meanwhile, a former Foundation intern, Changzhu Jin, has earned his PhD.

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  • 2017 Second Quarter Research Awards

    Two proposals have been selected to receive Foundation funding in the 2nd quarter of 2017.

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    James Keenan

    James Keenan, CEO of Artenga, Inc., a Canadian life sciences company, will partner with Sunnybrook Research Institute and the University of Helsinki to investigate “MRgFUS Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery with AAV2 Gene Therapy Microbubble Drug Conjugates.” The team proposes to develop a novel microbubble-drug conjugate with an adeno-associated virus and then use focused ultrasound to deliver the gene therapy to the regions of the brain affected by Parkinson's disease.

     

     

     

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    Frank Wolfram, PhD

    In Germany, Frank Wolfram, PhD, and his team at SRH Waldklinikum Gera have been funded to determine “Accessibility and Benefit of Focused Ultrasound Treatment for Inoperable Lung Cancer Patients, A Retrospective Analysis.” Now that their preliminary data have shown the feasibility for focused ultrasound to treat lung cancer on large animal models via intentional One Lung Flooding (OLF). This study will analyze the charts of inoperable patients (70% of all lung cancer patients) to map tumor location and volume, classify and analyze the pulmonary function to estimate their accessibility to OLF, and therefore determine the future clinical potential of FUS for treatment of primary lung cancer.

     

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  • 2017 Meeting Report: The American Urological Association’s (AUA) Annual Meeting

    At the 2017 American Urological Association meeting held in Boston, focused ultrasound technology was included in 15 abstracts, and EDAP released its new Ablatherm “Fusion” technology, which allows urologists to import pre-treatment diagnostic information (MRI images and 3D biopsy maps) and merge it with the live ultrasound image during the procedure.

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  • Investigator Profile: Nir Lipsman, MD, PhD

    While completing his doctoral thesis in a deep brain stimulation project at the University of Toronto, Dr. Nir Lipsman began his work in focused ultrasound at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. The overlapping theme at that time – and one that continues in his work today – is applying the latest technological advances to difficult-to-treat brain disorders. An early adopter of focused ultrasound, this neurosurgeon is looking to bring non-invasive solutions to patients as quickly and as safely as possible. He intends to lead the way by collaborating with experts in neurodegenerative disease, psychiatric disorders, and oncology. This approach led him to become the first physician to use focused ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier in a patient with Alzheimer’s disease as part of a clinical trial.

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  • Parkinson’s Patient Honored at University of Maryland Gala

    To mark the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s 210th anniversary, the School held its annual gala in Baltimore on April 29th. A focused ultrasound patient and advocate, Kimberly Spletter, co-chaired the event.

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  • 2017 Meeting Report: The International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine’s (ISMRM) 25th Annual Meeting and Exhibition

    On April 24, John Snell, PhD, Technical Director of the FUSF Brain Program, and Pejman Ghanouni, MD, PhD, from Stanford University, led a continuing education course on MR-guided Focused Ultrasound in the Brain. Designed for physicists and engineers, the session aimed to introduce new or emerging MR methods and applications and discuss their clinical potential.

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  • Foundation Serves as Model for UVA Case Study

    A recently published case study for the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy examines the Foundation as a model for innovation and social entrepreneurship.

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  • Argo Screening in Washington, DC, Benefits Foundation

    On May 3, the E Street Cinema in Washington, DC, hosted a special screening of Argo as part of its “Popcorn and Politics” series. The 2012 film depicts Foundation Council member Tony Mendez’s remarkable role in the 1979 rescue of American hostages from Iran. Tony and his wife Jonna (also a Council member) attended the screening, answered audience questions, and generously donated the evening’s proceeds to the Foundation.

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  • Donor Update: Gottwald Brothers Honored as Outstanding Virginians

    Foundation supporters Floyd D. Gottwald, Jr. and Bruce C. Gottwald each received the Outstanding Virginian Award in a ceremony at the University of Virginia on May 13. The two long-time business leaders share a rich history of philanthropic support. They also both generously and consistently support the Focused Ultrasound Foundation. Floyd and his wife, Helga, live in Richmond and make grants FUSF through the Herndon Foundation.

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  • Physicians Share Latest Research with Full House at Awareness Event

    On May 10, the Focused Ultrasound Foundation held its biennial awareness event in Charlottesville, Va. As in past years, attendees included the Foundation’s Board of Directors, Council, and staff, as well as focused ultrasound clinicians, researchers, patients, donors, and community members interested in the impact of this innovative technology.

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  • Stanford Pioneer Named 2018 Symposium President

    Focused ultrasound pioneer, Pejman Ghanouni, MD, PhD, will serve as the Honorary President of the 6th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound, to be held October 21-25, 2018 in Reston, Virginia.

    “The field of focused ultrasound is still a tight-knit community, so to have the opportunity to gather and catch up on the latest advances and techniques is an invaluable experience,” says Dr. Ghanouni. “At the Symposium, we’re able to create collegial contacts who we can reach out to with questions as we broaden focused ultrasound’s impact into new indications. It’s an honor to be asked to be a part of the 2018 meeting.”

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  • May 2017 Research Roundup

    The combination of focused ultrasound plus microbubbles or nanobubbles is allowing scientists to reach previously inaccessible parts of the brain and spinal cord. Can gene therapy stop or slow brain tumor development? If nerve growth factor reaches the spinal cord, could it repair damaged neurons? Finally, brain mapping with low-intensity focused ultrasound is the subject of a new study from the University of Virginia.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Presented at Milken Institute Global Conference

    On May 3, Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD, attended the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, CA, at the invitation of Chairman of the Milken Institute and Foundation Council member, Michael Milken.

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  • First Alzheimer’s Trial with Focused Ultrasound Begins

    Charlottesville, VA - May 2, 2017 - Researchers at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto have begun the world’s first clinical trial evaluating the feasibility and safety of opening the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) utilizing focused ultrasound.

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  • First Focused Ultrasound Pediatric Brain Tumor Study Begins

    Researchers at Nicklaus Children’s Hospitalin Miami, Florida have performed the first procedure in a pediatric and young adult brain tumor study. The trial aims to demonstrate feasibility and safety of using focused ultrasound to ablate a variety of benign tumors located in the central part of the brain in ten patients, ages 8 to 22. Left untreated, these tumors often cause seizures, cognitive delays, or other complications as they grow.

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  • April 2017 Research Roundup

    Two of the articles featured this month further explore using focused ultrasound and microbubbles to open the blood-brain barrier. One investigates how this mechanism affects the microvasculature of the brain, and the other shows its promise in delivering chemotherapy to invasive brain tumors. Finally, a group in Hong Kong proposes a new protocol for large, treatment-resistant thyroid nodules after analyzing results from previous patients.

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  • Investigator Profile: Kathy Ferrara, PhD

    Katherine W. Ferrara, PhD, is a Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering at UC Davis and the Director of their Center for Content Rich Evaluation of Therapeutic Efficacy. She also serves on the Foundation’s Research Advisory Committee and has contributed as faculty during our biennial Symposium.

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  • Immunotherapy Plus Focused Ultrasound Shrinks Tumors

    A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight(JCI Insight) suggests that combining focused ultrasound ablation with immunotherapy in the right order can produce a systemic attack on epithelial cancer in a mouse model. However, for the combination to be effective, the immunotherapy must come first using a technique called priming.

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  • Dr. Oz Highlights Focused Ultrasound at Live Event

    On April 1, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Emmy Award-winning host of The Dr. Oz Show, hosted a live health and safety festival at the Gardens Mall in South Florida that featured an educational seminar on focused ultrasound technology. During “Sound Waves Replace Surgery,” three physicians, including the Foundation’s Chief Medical Officer, Suzanne LeBlang, MD, spoke on why they are passionate about using the technology and how it is changing patients’ lives.

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  • Parkinson’s Patient Hits the Ground Running after Focused Ultrasound

    Beginning at age 25, Steve noticed he was losing control of his grip. “I was working a mobile repair service that installed new airbags and interior components in vehicles that had been in a wreck,” he explains. “I started to lose my ability to hold tools, turn screwdrivers, and use wrenches effectively.” After visiting several local neurologists, Steve was referred to Dr. Shannon at Rush University in Chicago and was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s disease.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Represented at CIBR Event

    On March 28, the Foundation participated in the Academy for Radiology & Biomedical Imaging Research's Eighth Annual Medical Imaging Technology Showcase on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

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  • Foundation Chairman Authors World Economic Forum Blog Post

    In a World Economic Forum blog post entitled, "We know sound soothes us. But what if it could kill a tumour?" Foundation Chairman, Neal Kassell, MD, writes about the immense potential of focused ultrasound to improve outcomes for patients.

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  • Board Member Selected for National Academy of Sciences Committee

    Charles Steger, PhD, president emeritus of Virginia Tech, was recently appointed to the Division of Earth and Life Sciences (DELS) committee of the National Academy of Sciences.

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  • Foundation Funded Research Update – Repairing the Parkinson’s Brain

    Parkinson’s disease damages dopamine neurons in the part of the brain called the substantia nigra (SN). Scientists hypothesize that these damaged cells can be repaired, and previous studies found that DNA segments that were introduced through the intranasal route of administration could produce a dopamine cell survival factor called glial cell derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) that protected these cells in the SN. Researchers at Northeastern University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Copernicus Therapeutics conducted a study to use focused ultrasound and microbubbles to improve on this concept. 

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  • Company Profile: Mirabilis Medical

    On the heels of their recent CE Mark announcement, we spoke with Mirabilis Medical’s CEO, Jens U. Quistgaard, to learn more about the company, its device, and what’s on the horizon. “This technology has the promise of helping a large number of women worldwide, and I’m glad to be involved with it,” says Quistgaard. 

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  • March 2017 Research Roundup

    Clinical results for focused ultrasound treatment of Parkinson’s tremor are now being presented and published. A case series recently conducted at Rambam Medical Center in Israel is among the first to report results. Focused ultrasound research is also showing promise for priming tumor tissue for enhanced uptake of nanoparticles in Korea and for imagining new treatments for spinal cord injury in China.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Represented at SIR 2017

    The Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) held its 2017 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, March 4-9. Three focused ultrasound abstracts were selected for SIR 2017: two oral presentations and one poster. Topics covered include vascular malformations, pediatric osteoid osteoma, and introducing junior radiologists to the field of focused ultrasound. An NIH poster on prostate imaging prior to treatment also mentioned focused ultrasound.

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  • Outlook is “Sunny” for Artist Treated with Focused Ultrasound

    For most of her life, Michigan resident Kristin “Sunny” Berry was able to manage her tremors enough to continue her beloved artistic hobbies.

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  • Mirabilis Medical Awarded CE Mark for Uterine Fibroids

    Mirabilis Medical has been granted European CE Mark approval to begin marketing their robotically assisted non-invasive focused ultrasound system to treat uterine fibroids. This milestone was accomplished after the company completed their first clinical trial, safely and successfully treating 73 women in Mexico with an average active treatment time of less than 10 minutes each.

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  • Pivotal Trial Begins for Breast Fibroadenoma

    Patients with benign breast tumors may be eligible for a new focused ultrasound–based investigational treatment as part of a pivotal, multi-center clinical study. The trial began last month at the University of Virginia (UVA) Medical Center.

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  • NaviFUS Executives Visit Foundation

    NaviFUS logo 180Executives from NaviFUS, a new focused ultrasound company in Taiwan, visited the Foundation to share information on the status of their company and their plans to begin clinical trials. Company Chairman, Chiu S. Lin, PhD, and CEO, Ming-Che Wang, PhD, were joined by Neurosurgeon Kuo-Chen Wei, MD, and Professor Hao-Li Liu for meetings at the Foundation and the University of Virginia. 

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  • February 2017 Research Roundup

    Focused ultrasound brain research is at the center of this month’s roundup. A new paper from Kullervo Hynynen’s group looks at blood-brain barrier restoration time; a new ultrasound technique for optogenetics is being developed at Columbia University; and our study with the University of Virginia compares focused ultrasound to the gamma knife for essential tremor thalamotomy.

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  • Foundation Funded Research Update – Brain Re-myelination in Multiple Sclerosis using Pulsed Focused Ultrasound

    With the goal of slowing or reversing the negative neurological effects of multiple sclerosis, researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle recently completed a pre-clinical in vivo study using pulsed focused ultrasound to increase myelination of affected neurons in the brain.

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  • New Center of Excellence Focuses on Collaborations and Education

    The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is pleased to designate a new Center of Excellenceat the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Lyon, France. INSERM Unit 1032, the Laboratory of Therapeutic Applications of Ultrasound (LabTAU), is located within a large medical and research community and conducts significant translational and clinical research with a multi-disciplinary, highly qualified, and complementary team of physicians and scientists.

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  • Foundation Embraces Open Science in 2017

    The concept of Open Science – or immediate access to papers, research data, and procedures – is changing how knowledge is shared.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Featured on Forbes.com

    forbes logoIn a recent article on Forbes.com, Neal F. Kassell, MD discusses the potential of focused ultrasound and his vision for creating the Foundation. “[We want] to become the guiding light for the entire field….to accelerate the development and adoption of this amazing technology,” says Kassell. He then goes on to discuss the hurdles involved in advancing a new therapy and how we plan to take on those challenges.

    The article was written by Josh Wolfe, who covers innovative entrepreneurs and cutting-edge technologies.

    READ THE ARTICLE >

     

     

     

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  • Competitions Showcase Research Innovation

    Two competitions are underway to recognize leaders in research innovation and entrepreneurship. We encourage those in the focused ultrasound community to apply.

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  • January 2017 Research Roundup

    This month, exciting research was published involving focused ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier to deliver drugs to metastatic brain tumors, treat a rare type of spinal bone cancer, and reduce eye pressure in glaucoma patients.


    In a pre-clinical study, a Taiwanese group used focused ultrasound to increase the amount of a chemotherapy drug delivered across the blood-brain barrier to brain metastases. See Pulsed-wave low-dose ultrasound hyperthermia selectively enhances nanodrug delivery and improves antitumor efficacy for brain metastasis of breast cancer in Ultrasonics Sonochemistry.

    Collaborators in Oxford, UK, present the outcomes from four cases and announce the start of a clinical trial in using focused ultrasound to treat sacral chordoma, a rare type of spinal bone cancer. See High-intensity focused ultrasonic ablation of sacral chordoma is feasible: a series of four cases and details of a national clinical trial in the British Journal of Neurosurgery.

    Two glaucoma centers in Italy successfully treated 30 patients with focused ultrasound to reduce intraocular pressure using Eye Tech Care’s EyeOP1 device. See High-intensity focused ultrasound treatment in patients with refractory glaucoma in Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology.

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  • Foundation Funded Research Update – Uterine Fibroid Ablation with Vascular Targeting

    In an effort to decrease treatment times for focused ultrasound ablation of uterine fibroids, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) designed a clinical trial to use the technology to target and destroy the fibroid’s blood supply rather than the fibroid tissue itself. “Accelerated Focused Ultrasound Ablation of Uterine Fibroids with MR guided Vascular Targeting—a Pilot Study” was led by Vascular and Interventional Radiologist Maureen Kohi, MD and radiological research fellow Sandeep Arora, MBBS.

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  • Movement Disorder Patients In the News

    As focused ultrasound becomes more widespread, many more patients’ lives are being transformed – especially those with movement disorders like essential tremor and Parkinson’s.Watch three patients share their stories about how the treatment changed their outlook through the news media.

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  • Jacksonville Mom of Two: “Curawave Gave Me My Active Life Back”

    A 40-year old mother of two with symptomatic uterine fibroids was treated in August 2016 by Dr. Suzanne LeBlang at her clinic in Boca Raton, Florida. The Focused Ultrasound Foundation interviewed her to learn more about her experience with fibroids and how the treatment dramatically improved her symptoms and her life. 

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  • Insightec Earns CE Mark for Prostate Cancer

    Most known for advancing focused ultrasound applications in the brain, Insightec announced that it has earned the CE Mark to treat the prostate. The Exablate Prostate system is now cleared in Europe to treat patients with locally confined prostate cancer.  Read Insightec's release below.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Symposium Abstracts Featured In JTU

    JTU2Abstracts from the Foundation’s 2016 Symposium have now been published in a special supplement to the Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound. The presentations covered neurological, liver/pancreas, breast, immunotherapy, cardiovascular, and emerging applications, representing the great progress made in the past decade and the promising future for the field.

    Read the abstracts >

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  • Governor Jeb Bush Visits Foundation

    The Focused Ultrasound Foundation was honored to host former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on November 21 and highlight the tremendous potential of focused ultrasound and the Foundation’s role in advancing this important technology.

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  • Northern Light: Thunder Bay a Shining Research Site

    The Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute (TBRHRI) is a new center located in a remote area of Canada that is already contributing to the field of focused ultrasound in the region and around the world. The Regional Health Sciences Centre created the research institute as a joint venture to help advance its academic research mandate and strengthen its role as a leader in healthcare innovation and delivery.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Presence Grows at RSNA 2016

    Interest in research related to focused ultrasound continues to grow at the Radiological Society of North America annual meeting, with special sessions dedicated to the technology as well as 21 FUS-based abstracts, up from 18 last year.

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  • INSERM Director Visits Foundation, Provides Research Update

    Jean-Yves Chapelon, PhD, is Research Director at INSERM’s LabTAU in Lyon, France and leads a collaborative project between INSERM (the French equivalent of the NIH) and the French FUS company EDAP TMS. He visited the Foundation to update us on the history and current status of Ablatherm technology for treatment of prostate cancer.

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  • 21st Century Cures Act Signed by Obama

    President Obama has signed into law the 21st Century Cures Act. This sweeping legislation will bring US health care innovation infrastructure into the 21st Century, deliver hope for patients and loved ones, and provide resources for researchers to uncover the next generation of cures.

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  • Verasonics Develops Flexible, High Tech Ultrasound for Research

    Seattle Area-based Verasonics designs and develops a programmable research ultrasound platform that optimally combines energy application and image monitoring all in one for focused ultrasound (FUS) research, development, and commercialization. In addition to therapy, Verasonics’ research ultrasound systems are used for investigation in novel imaging techniques, physics, materials testing, education, and other applications.

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  • Medicare Establishes Payment Level for Treatment of Tremor

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has set the institutional payment for focused ultrasound treatment for essential tremor at approximately $10,000. After two years CMS will reevaluate the payment level based on the actual costs of treatments performed during that interval.

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  • World’s First Focal Hand Dystonia Patient Treated with Focused Ultrasound

    Researchers in Japan have treated a patient with hand dystonia with focused ultrasound (FUS) for the first time, enabling a classical guitarist to play music again.

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  • Lockharts Honor Son by Funding Fellowship

    At the behest of Gene and Terry Lockhart, the Focused Ultrasound Foundation has established the Andrew J. Lockhart Fellowship for focused ultrasound research into solid tumors to honor their son Andrew who passed away in September 2016 after a hard-fought battle with cancer at the age of 39.

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  • Advertising Pioneer Supports Foundation

    Advertising technology pioneer Michael Donovan, Vice Chairman of Mediaocean, is no stranger to revolutionary ideas. Donovan supports the Foundation’s work to ensure that a game-changing technology like focused ultrasound will fulfill its potential to transform the future of medicine. Donovan met Foundation Chairman Neal Kassell, MD, in Wyoming and was immediately captivated by the promise of medical innovation to change the world. He recently gave one million dollars to support the Foundation.

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  • Kassell Joins World Economic Forum Advisory Group

    Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD has been invited to join the Future of Neurotechnologies and Brain Sciencecouncil, one of the networks in the Global Future Councils, a community of world-leading experts and innovators to provide bold visions for solving critical global, regional, and industry challenges. The Councils’ first meeting took place in Dubai November 13-14, 2016.

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  • Sunnybrook Centre of Excellence Accelerating Progress Through Collaboration

    The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is honored to recognize Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto as a Centre of Excellence.

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  • EpiSonica Gains Regulatory Approval in Taiwan

    Taiwan-based EpiSonica has secured Taiwan Food & Drug Administration (TFDA) clearance of its ArcBlate MR-guided focused ultrasound system for soft tumor ablation of uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, and palliative pain care. ArcBlate can be used in any commercial MRI system.

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  • GBM Consortium Tests Focused Ultrasound Immunomodulation Parameters

    The Foundation’s multi-site consortium to streamline efforts and accelerate progress in using FUS to increase the body’s anti-tumor immune response has launched its first major project. Researchers at seven institutions will investigate the effects of different FUS modalities on the immune system, each using the same animal model of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), an aggressive and difficult to treat brain tumor.

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  • FUS Immunotherapy Summit Builds on Momentum

    More than 40 experts from around the world gathered for the Focused Ultrasound and Immunotherapy Summit, held in partnership with the Cancer Research Institute on October 14. The group met to critically evaluate the current body of evidence, assess the value of ongoing work, and create a roadmap of projects to address any remaining gaps or questions.

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  • Symposium Summary & Presentation Videos Now Available

    Nearly 200 researchers presented their data at the 5th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound in August. The Symposium is the world's leading forum for sharing the latest translational and clinical advances in focused ultrasound – a groundbreaking non-invasive therapeutic technology. Targeted to scientists, clinicians, and other stakeholders, the conference offered a multifaceted exploration of this emerging field and feature plenary sessions, panel discussions, poster presentations and technical exhibits.

    Read the event summary. 

    You can now view the video presentations and read the abstracts here.

     

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  • Essential Tremor Patient Visits Symposium

    Just a week after undergoing FUS for his tremor at the University of Maryland, Peter Muller visited the Symposium to meet some of the leading researchers in the field and the innovators at Insightec that developed the technology.

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  • Scientific Presentations at a Glance: Wide Ranging Progress

    The Symposium’s scientific presentations demonstrated that significant progress is being made in advancing FUS as a solution in many fields of medicine, utilizing a variety of biomechanisms. Here are some of the highlights:

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  • 2016 Symposium: We Have Reached the Tipping Point

    The momentum at the Foundation’s 5th International Focused Ultrasound Symposium demonstrates the progression of the technology from a research tool toward a viable clinical treatment. From the record number of investigators attending, to the quantity and quality of clinical trials reported, to the celebration of the first FDA approvals of clinical brain and prostate systems, the meeting ushered in a new era.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Foundation Earns CEO Cancer Gold Standard Accreditation


    The CEO Roundtable on Cancer has accredited the Foundation with the CEO Cancer Gold StandardTM, recognizing our efforts to reduce the risk of cancer for our employees and covered family members.

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  • Physicists in Medicine Meeting Report

    Kullervo Hynynen, PhD, Professor of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto presented a distinguished lecture at the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) Annual Meeting. The lecture, entitled “Advances in Ultrasound Therapy,” explained the principles, technology, and techniques behind focused ultrasound and its clinical use for drug delivery.

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  • FUS and the Cancer Moonshot

    Also: Blue Ribbon Panel Issues Recommendations

    four pillars module newThrough its eventual integration into the four pillars of traditional cancer treatment, focused ultrasound has the potential to transform the treatment of cancer.

    In a feature published on the social journalism website Medium.com, Chief Scientific Officer, Jessica Foley, PhD, and Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD, write about how focused ultrasound can enhance or replace surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy for cancer.

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  • Summer Interns Contribute to the Field

    This year, two returning students were met by a couple of new faces to round out our talented group of summer interns.

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  • University of Maryland Center of Excellence Dedicated to Brain Research

    In recognition of their leadership in advancing focused ultrasound research for the brain, the Foundation is pleased to designate the University of Maryland as a Center of Excellence.

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  • News Flash - First Epilepsy Trial

     

    World's First Focused Ultrasound Clinical Trial for Epilepsy Begins
    Researchers at the University of Virginia (UVA) are starting the first clinical trial in the world using focused ultrasound to treat patients with epilepsy. The study, supported by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in collaboration with the Epilepsy Foundation, will assess the feasibility, safety and initial effectiveness of focused ultrasound to non-invasively destroy (ablate) diseased brain tissue that causes seizures.
    The study is now recruiting up to 15 adult patients with a range of rare deep brain lesions that produce debilitating seizures that often do not respond to medications.  It is expected that most patients in the study will have benign tumors in the hypothalamus, which can lead to frequent seizures with outbursts of spontaneous laughing, giggling, crying or grunting; developmental delays and/or precocious puberty. The disorder can progress as patients age, leading to increased cognitive decline and severe behavior problems.
    Current options for patients whose seizures do not respond to medication include surgery or laser thermal ablation, both which may involve multiple risks or complications, such as damage to normal brain, infection or hemorrhage.  The only currently available non-invasive method is radiosurgery with the gamma knife, which may take months to show effect, is not image guided and involves risks of complications from radiation.
    “Intractable epilepsy, especially this type, can be devastating and existing therapies have risks and are not uniformly effective, so many patients are in desperate need of better therapies,” says principal investigator Nathan Fountain, MD, professor of neurology at UVA. “If we are successful in destroying the lesions without complications, then this will be an important step on the path toward developing focused ultrasound to enable patients to have freedom from seizures without the risks of open surgery.”
    Dr. Fountain will collaborate with UVA neurosurgeon Jeff Elias, MD, in conducting the procedures using Insightec’s Exablate Neuro System. Patients seeking further information about the study should contact Stacy Thompson, RN at or Nathan Fountain, MD at .
    Momentum Building for FUS and Epilepsy

    “We are committed to advancing the technical, scientific and clinical work required for focused ultrasound to reach its full potential in treating epilepsy,” said Foundation Chairman Neal Kassell, MD.  “This is the first in a planned series of studies in epilepsy that the Foundation is supporting.”

    In addition to the UVA study, the Foundation plans to support a clinical trial led by Neurosurgeon Vibhor Krishna, MD, at Ohio State University using focused ultrasound to ablate the anterior nucleus of the thalamus in patients with partial-onset epilepsy. 

    Neurosurgeon Tomokatsu Hori at Tokyo Women’s Medical University recently applied focused ultrasound to a patient with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) to assess feasibility of reaching this target. This is the first step that may ultimately lead to a clinical trial to treat TLE.
     
     
     
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  • New England Journal of Medicine Publishes Tremor Results

    The prestigious New England Journal of Medicine published the pivotal study that led to the approval of Insightec’s Exablate Neuro focused ultrasound system to treat essential tremor (ET).

     
     

    Sharon Samuels shares her struggle with essential tremor and
    gets her quality of life back after focused ultrasound treatment.

    The ET patients treated in this study achieved significantly reduced unilateral hand tremor that proved durable at 12 months. The procedure also reduced disability and improved quality of life one year after treatment. The study was conducted at eight centers and led by University of Virginia neurosurgeon Jeff Elias, MD.

    “This study represents a major advance for neurosurgery, treatment of brain disease and specifically the treatment of essential tremor,” Dr. Elias said. “For the first time in a randomized controlled trial, we have shown that ultrasound can be precisely delivered through the intact human skull to treat a difficult neurological disease.”

    “This publication further affirms to the medical community that focused ultrasound is a safe and effective alternative to treat the brain without incisions or radiation,” says Foundation Chairman Neal Kassell, MD. “Now that Insightec’s system is approved by the FDA, the important next step is to secure the appropriate levels of reimbursement so that leading medical centers will invest in this technology and make it widely available to patients seeking non-invasive options for their tremors.”

    Given the challenges of accessing the brain and the high cost, complications, and limitations of some current approaches, we believe that focused ultrasound has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of many brain disorders and ultimately to open up opportunities to rapidly advance applications throughout the body.

    The idea of using focused ultrasound to treat tremors was conceptualized at the Foundation's first brain workshop in March 2009. The Foundation then helped organize and fund a pilot study with Insightec and the University of Virginia that served as the predicate for this larger pivotal study.

    NEJM ET video320 captionThe pivotal study was funded by a partnership between the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, Insightec and the BIRD (Israel-US Binational Industrial R&D) Foundation.

    Read the University of Virginia's press release >

    The pivotal trial took place at the following sites:

    • Brigham & Women's Hospital
    • Stanford University Medical Center
    • Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
    • Swedish Medical Center
    • University of Maryland Medical System
    • University of Virginia 
    • Tokyo Women's Medical University
    • Yonsei University Medical Center

     

    Media Coverage

     

     

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  • Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe Visits Focused Ultrasound Foundation

    On Monday, August 22, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe visited the Focused Ultrasound Foundation and met with members of the Foundation’s Team, Board, Council, and representatives from the University of Virginia Health System.

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  • The Focused Ultrasound Foundation Contributes to the Vice President’s Cancer Moonshot

    In his final State of the Union address, President Obama announced a new “moonshot” initiative aimed at making cancer a thing of the past. Vice President Biden is leading this national effort with an ultimate goal to double the rate of progress towards cancer cures, making a decade’s worth of progress in the next five years. The Foundation is highly supportive of this initiative that aligns well with our mission to bring focused ultrasound for the treatment of cancer to patients as quickly as possible.

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  • Al Jazeera Video Features Essential Tremor Patient

    Al Jazeera's program "The Cure" follows Sunny, an essential tremor patient at Ohio State University as she undergoes focused ultrasound to ease her tremors.  

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