Clinician News

  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • ISTU Features Live Brain Treatment

    ISTU attendees were virtually transported via teleconference from the meeting space to a high-tech operating room at Rambam Medical Center to witness a live broadcast of a brain focused ultrasound treatment on a patient with essential tremor.

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  • FUS Poised for Growth in Japan

    After nearly 20 years of activity in the country, focused ultrasound may now be positioned for commercial success in Japan.

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  • Investigator Profile: Q&A with Wady Gedroyc

    Dr. Wladyslaw "Wady" Gedroyc, MBBS, MRCP, FRCR is a Consultant Radiologist at St. Mary's Hospital, Imperial College NHS trust and has been a champion of focused ultrasound for 16 years. He has treated more than 600 patients, mostly women with uterine fibroids, at St. Mary’s. The center now treats about one uterine fibroid patient per week, and they are continuing to explore other uses of the technology.

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  • FDA Approves First Focused Ultrasound System for Treating the Prostate

    Charlottesville, Virginia, October 13, 2015 -- The US Food and Drug Administration has approved SonaCare Medical’s Sonablate 450 focused ultrasound system for the ablation of prostate tissue. Focused ultrasound enables treatment of organ-confined prostate disease while preserving surrounding healthy tissue, without radiation or surgery.

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  • Review Article Recommends FUS as Fibroid Treatment Option

    A Clinical Practice Review published in the April 23rd issue of the New England Journal of Medicine by Mayo Clinic Ob/Gyn Elizabeth Stewart, MD, recommends focused ultrasound as an important uterine-conserving treatment that should be an option for women with symptomatic uterine fibroids. We announced its publication on April 30, and it was also featured on the Harvard Health Blog.

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  • Canadian Government Agency Deems FUS as Cost-Effective, Least Invasive Treatment Option for Fibroids

    The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC) has recommended focused ultrasound (FUS) as a possible “cost-effective strategy” and a “safe and effective, noninvasive, uterine-preserving” option for women seeking treatment for uterine fibroids.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Used to Heat Brain Tumors

    After battling breast cancer for 12 years, Cynthia received devasting news; the cancer had spread to her brain. That's when Cynthia and her family turned to a clinical trial investigating the use of focused ultrasound.

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  • Study Explores Focused Ultrasound for Alzheimer's Disease

    New research suggests that focused ultrasound may hold answers to one of today’s more devastating diseases - Alzheimer’s

    In a preclinical study, researchers at Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto were able to reverse some Alzheimer’s disease symptoms in mice. The study, funded by the National Institute of Health, used focused ultrasound to temporarily open the blood-brain barrier. Once open, microbubbles can more effectively pass through to the diseased tissue in the brain. The treatment led to improvements in cognition and spatial learning, and did not cause tissue damage or negative behavioral changes.

    Though early-stage, this research could open the doors to more studies and greater possibilities for this innovative technology.

    Read the NIBIB Press Release.

    Read media coverage from DOTmed and Gizmag.

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  • Important Meetings for Your 2015 Calendar

    As we begin the new year, we encourage you to mark your calendars for these important meetings.

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  • Essential Tremor Pivotal Trial Enrollment Complete

    InSightec has completed enrollment in the pivotal study of their ExAblate Neuro system for the treatment of essential tremor. Physicians at eight sites worldwide have now treated 76 patients in the trial. The first randomized, controlled trial of unilateral MR-guided focused ultrasound thalamotomy with InSightec’s system began in August 2013 and completed enrollment in September 2014. Results will be submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for regulatory approval of the device. The pivotal study was designed based on the clinical outcome of the initial 15-patient pilot study that was conducted from 2011 to 2012 and published in an August 2013 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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  • FUS Experts Believe Brain and Cancer Applications Have Most Potential to Improve QOL

    The Foundation conducted a survey of 150 members of the focused ultrasound community on the state of the field prior to the October 2014 Symposium.

    Respondents were asked to identify which clinical indications were most likely to improve patients’ quality of life. Neurological and oncological indications are tied for the most votes, with brain tumors, essential tremor, and pancreatic cancer being rated as the top three individual indications. Similarly, respondents were asked to rank the top three bioeffects that are most likely to have long-term therapeutic value. Thermal ablation is ranked first, followed by drug delivery and neuromodulation.

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  • Update from California Brain Tumor Patient

    “It started as a leap of faith and ultimately turned into a miracle.” That is how Cheryl Hanson describes the experience traveling from California to Switzerland in order for her husband, Dr. Peter Baginsky, to undergo focused ultrasound treatment of his aggressive glioblastoma brain cancer. As we reported in March, Peter was the first person to have a portion of his brain tumor thermally ablated through the intact skull using focused ultrasound.

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  • Chinese Expert in Focused Ultrasound Visits Foundation, UVA

    Lian Zhang, MD, gastroenterologist with the Clinical Center for Tumor Therapy, Second Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing University of Medical Sciences, met with Alan Matsumoto, MD, Co-Director of the UVA Focused Ultrasound Center.

    Dr. Zhang is a leading clinician in the field, having been involved with focused ultrasound for more than 10 years. Chongqing Haifu’s focused ultrasound system is currently approved in China and Europe to treat uterine fibroids, breast cancer, liver cancer, kidney cancer, soft tissue tumors, and pain control for pancreatic cancer and bone metastases. The technology is quite established for uterine fibroids, with more than 100 Chongqing Haifu systems in OB/GYN offices around China.

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  • Meeting Highlights FUS as Potential Key Treatment of 21st Century

    Speakers at the European Congress of Radiology (ECR) Annual Meeting in Vienna, Austria, lauded the potential for Focused Ultrasound to be one of the most important treatment options on the horizon. MedicalPhysicsWeb.com reported on the conference, speaking with leaders in the focused ultrasound field about the key applications discussed.

    Uterine fibroids remains the most widely approved application of focused ultrasound, with the potential to help countless women. Discussion centered on ideas to overcome the slow adoption rates to date.

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  • Foundation Publishes Global Report on Focused Ultrasound – A Resource for all Stakeholders

    The Focused Ultrasound Foundation has published its January 2014 Focused Ultrasound Global Perspective report, a comprehensive overview of the state of the technology, including facts and figures on approved indications, manufacturers, research centers, and treatment sites. This report will serve as a trusted resource for academia, government, industry, and investors, enabling them to monitor progress in the field and guide decision making.

    The report is now available on our website. An update will be produced every six months, identifying significant research and commercialization trends for the technology.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Makes Cover of DOTmed HealthCare Business News

    Focused ultrasound secured a spot on the front page of the January 2014 issue of DOTmed HeathCare Business News.  The article, which asks “is focused ultrasound medicine’s best kept secret,” chronicles the conception of the technology and details the current state of development and adoption for some important conditions, including uterine fibroids, Essential Tremor, Parkinson’s disease, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and prostate cancer. It also covers next steps for the technology, including the arena of widespread reimbursement.

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  • Parkinson's Dyskinesia Study Begins

    A major milestone in the evolution of the field of focused ultrasound has been achieved. The first treatment in a 20-patient pilot study assessing the feasibility, safety, and preliminary efficacy of MR-guided focused ultrasound for dyskinesia in Parkinson's disease was successfully performed in Korea. This groundbreaking study is being funded in partnership with the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

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  • Gail ter Haar Draws a Crowd at FDA to Discuss FUS Quality Assurance and Standardization

    Focused ultrasound physics pioneer Professor Gail ter Haar, head of the Foundation’s Center of Excellence at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London, traveled with Foundation staff to Washington to deliver a presentation to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on her team’s work in quality assurance and standardization of high intensity focused ultrasound.

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  • Nature Neuroscience: Focused Ultrasound Enhances the Brain’s Sensory Perception

    As reported in the current issue of Nature Neuroscience, scientists on Dr. William J. Tyler’s research team at Virginia Tech were interested in using focused ultrasound to noninvasively modify human brain function. They targeted sensory areas of the brain and were surprised by their findings: low-intensity focused ultrasound significantly improved function by decreasing impulses to the median nerve in the arm thereby enhancing the patients’ ability to discriminate between different kinds of stimulation. Secondly, they were impressed that the focused ultrasound could target smaller, more specific areas in the brain as compared to other neuromodulation technologies.

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  • Wladyslaw Gedroyc Named Editor of the Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound, Which Is Now Indexed on PubMed

    Focused ultrasound pioneer Dr. Wladyslaw Gedroyc has been named Clinical Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound(JTU), replacing start-up editor Dr. Arik Hananel.

    A consultant radiologist, Dr. Gedroyc is recognized worldwide as a pioneer in the development of noninvasive patient treatments using MR-guided focused ultrasound. Much of Dr. Gedroyc's ground-breaking work involved the treatment of uterine fibroids, pancreatic tumors, and liver tumors. He is currently investigating a focused ultrasound application to alleviate the severe back pain associated with facet joint disease.

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  • Dr. Jeff Elias’s TEDx Talk Available Online

    In October, Dr. Jeff Elias of the University of Virginia awed the TEDx Charlottesville audience of nearly 1,000 as he spoke about the transformational effects of focused ultrasound, including "before and after" video of his patients eating, writing, and reaching while living with essential tremor. See the talk that brought the crowd to its feet.


     

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  • Focused Ultrasound for Parkinson's Disease Featured in Practical Neurology

    Focused ultrasound treatment for Parkinson's disease was featured as the cover story in the December issue of Practical Neurology.

    The article consisted of a Q&A with Dr. Binit B. Shah, MD, Assistant Professor, Neurology, Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Division at University of Virginia.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Breast Research - December 2013 Update

    Additional research is being conducted around the world on breast cancer and breast fibroadenoma. For example, collaboration between Philips and Utrecht University Medical Center in the Netherlands is using an innovative system that has been designed specifically to treat breast tissue.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Featured at RSNA 2013

    Focused ultrasound research presentations made an impressive showing at this year’s RSNA annual meeting. A remarkable 27 sessions featured research on focused ultrasound ablation and/or drug delivery to treat many different diseases, including breast cancer, bone metastases, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, melanoma, uterine fibroids, and osteoid osteoma.

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  • Promising Results in FUS Breast Cancer Study

    Results of a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) suggest MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) may offer a safe, noninvasive treatment option for breast cancer.

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  • Radiology Today Features MR Guided Focused Ultrasound

    Radiology Today magazine featured a balanced article detailing the uses of focused ultrasound to treat a wide variety of disorders such as uterine fibroids, bone mets pain, essential tremor, Parkinson's disease, and more.

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  • FUSF Brain Workshop: White Paper Available Online

    Experts who gathered at the June Brain Workshop were successful in identifying major opportunities and challenges for expanding the area in the brain that can be treated with focused ultrasound. Event details, including issues discussed and long-term projects, were reported in ourJuly newsletter.

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  • American Society For Radiation Oncology: 2013 Annual Meeting Highlights

    The Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) was held in Atlanta on September 22-25, 2013. This meeting is the largest assembly of radiation oncology physicians and researchers in the world. Focused ultrasound has a growing and important role in clinical research in radiation oncology, and highlights included:

    1. J. E. Meyer from the Fox Chase Cancer Center presented their work on the pain palliation of bone metastases using focused ultrasound. Their retrospective analysis showed breast cancer metastases as having the best response rate (87%), which may impact future patient selection and treatment decisions.

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  • Foundation’s Patient Survey Demonstrates Impact of Fibroids and Preference for Noninvasive Treatment

    The Foundation’s patient advocacy program, Fibroid Relief, has been garnering nationwide media coverage of a newly published survey that found that uterine fibroids cause significant fear and morbidity and can compromise workplace performance. It also found that women prefer treatment options that are not invasive and protect fertility (like focused ultrasound).

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  • Experts Share Latest Advances at Rome Symposium

    More than 200 clinicians and scientists from Europe and across the globe gathered in Rome this month for the Focused Ultrasound Therapy - 2nd European Symposium, which was supported by the Foundation.

    “The symposium more than met our goals of sharing knowledge and stimulating new ideas,” said symposium co-chair Alessandro Napoli, MD, PhD, of Sapienza University of Rome. “The meeting helped to establish and consolidate relations, foster discussion of research approaches, and fuel advances in the field.”

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  • First Patient Treated in Essential Tremor Pivotal Trial

    The first essential tremor patient in the pivotal trial for the ExAblate Neuro Focused Ultrasound System has been treated at Stanford, and the study is starting at the University of Virginia, Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle, and Yonsei University Medical Center in Seoul, Korea.

    The trial is a multicenter, double-blinded, randomized study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of treatment using the ExAblate Neuro in medication-refractory essential tremor patients. The study builds upon promising pilot studies funded by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation that demonstrated the preliminary safety and effectiveness of FUS in treating target areas deep inside the brain. These studies were published in the New England Journal of Medicineand The Lancet Neurology.

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  • Merkin Fellowship Position Open

    The Foundation is now seeking applicants for the Richard Merkin Visiting Fellowship in Focused Ultrasound, created by Richard Merkin, MD, to foster collaboration between the Foundation and other institutions .

    The Fellowship in Focused Ultrasound is open to any mid-career or senior scientist or clinician from industry or academia around the world to work with the technical and scientific team at the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in Charlottesville, Virginia for about 12 months. The position will foster collaboration between the Foundation, the Fellow's home institution, and other institutions and will be paid through an annualized stipend of $150,000.

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  • Experts Discuss Research Direction at Blood-Brain Barrier Workshop

    The Focused Ultrasound Foundation and the Kinetics Foundation organized a workshop in September to discuss the state of the technology, current challenges, and future research directions for using focused ultrasound to reversibly open the blood-brain barrier to allow the delivery of drugs directly to the brain for treatment of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other central nervous system disorders.

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  • Pioneer in Focused Ultrasound Cancer Treatment Named Honorary President for 2014 Symposium

    Feng Wu, MD, PhD, has been selected as Honorary President of the 4th International Symposium on Current and Future Applications of Focused Ultrasound to be held October 12-16, 2014 in Bethesda, Maryland.

    Wu has been a steadfast champion of focused ultrasound for more than 25 years. To date, his teams in China have treated more than 50,000 tumor patients, the largest population of focused ultrasound-treated patients in the world. Now living in England, Wu is a Focused Ultrasound Consultant and Senior Clinical Scientist at Oxford University. He is a leading researcher in the field, having published more than 200 papers. In 2013, he was awarded the International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound’s William and Francis Fry Award for his outstanding contributions to the field.

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  • First Patient Treated for Essential Tremor in Phase III Clinical Trial

    The first essential tremor patient in the pivotal trial for the ExAblate Neuro Focused Ultrasound System has been treated at Stanford, and the study is starting at the University of Virginia, Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle, and Yonsei University Medical Center in Seoul, Korea.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Research Published in New England Journal of Medicine

    The New England Journal of Medicine published the promising results of a pilot trial on the use of transcranial MR-guided focused ultrasound to treat patients with essential tremor (ET).

    The results indicate that focused ultrasound can safely and effectively treat targeted areas deep in the brain.  The study included 15 patients with essential tremor that could not be managed by medication who underwent a completely noninvasive unilateral thalamotomy using an investigational focused ultrasound device. The study was led by W. Jeffrey Elias, MD, (shown above with the ET patients) neurosurgeon at the University of Virginia, and funded by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation.

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  • Michael J Fox Foundation Awards Grant for Parkinson’s Study

    The Focused Ultrasound Foundation was recently awarded a $600,000 grant by The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to help fund a pilot study of focused ultrasound for the treatment of dyskinesia in Parkinson’s disease.  The study will investigate the feasibility, safety and preliminary effectiveness of focused ultrasound as a non-invasive method to destroy a small volume of targeted tissue in the brain to improve motor symptoms and reduce the involuntary movements (dyskinesia) faced by Parkinson’s patients.

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  • Study Reports Significant Bone Mets Pain Relief Using Focused Ultrasound

    A high-dose of ultrasound targeted to painful bone metastases appears to quickly bring patients relief, and with largely tolerable side effects, according to new research presented by Fox Chase Cancer Center scientists at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology on Monday, June 3.

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  • 2013 American Association of Physicists in Medicine Annual Meeting - Agenda

    Ultrasound Symposium Agenda - Tuesday, August 6

    Session 1: Clinical Delivery and Advanced Novel Technologies/Strategies

    Moderators: Chang Ming Charlie Ma, Fox Chase Cancer Center and Cyril Lafon, INSERM, University of Lyon

    8:00 AM               Clinical Delivery and Advanced Novel Technologies/Strategies

                                    Presenters: N. Sanghvi, A. Hananel, M. Hurwitz, C. Moonen

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  • Researchers File Patent for FUS Method That Reduces Cardiac Impairment After Heart Attack

    Researchers from the Bonn University Hospital in Germany have filed a patent application for a focused ultrasound method that reduces impairment of cardiac function after an acute heart attack. In the method, microbubbles are injected into the bloodstream following a heart attack. When the bubbles reach the heart, stimulation with focused ultrasound causes them to oscillate and ameliorate the muscle damage that normally occurs after cardiac arrest.

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  • American Urologists Show Strong Interest in HIFU

    From the level of traffic at its booth to the “Best Poster” honors bestowed on two abstracts featuring its HIFU treatment for prostate cancer, focused ultrasound device maker EDAP TMS reported a “heightened level of interest and enthusiasm” among physicians and others attending the 2013 meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA) in May. Now in use in 29 countries, EDAP’s prostate cancer treatment device – the Ablatherm – is awaiting regulatory approval in the U.S.

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  • Canadian Study Assessing Thermal Ultrasound Treatment for Prostate Cancer

    Patients with localized prostate cancer are receiving treatment in a new clinical study assessing the safety of a transurethral ultrasound ablation system developed by Toronto-based Profound Medical Inc. The system, which uses a specially designed wand to deliver thermal ablative therapy, operates under MR guidance. It works on a variety of MRI platforms, can be moved from scanner to scanner and treats the whole prostate gland in one session.

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  • Seattle Center To Be a Major Force in Focused Ultrasound Brain Studies

    First patient trial at Swedish Medical Center will be for essential tremor

    One of the most prestigious neuroscience centers in the world is gearing up to become a major clinical force in MR-guided focused ultrasound brain research. Swedish Neuroscience Institute (SNI) at the Cherry Hill campus of Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, USA will soon treat patients with essential tremor as part of  an upcoming Phase III multicenter randomized trial and is considering studies for epilepsy, Parkinsonian tremor, metastatic tumors and intracerebral hemorrhage.

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  • Industry Trade Reports on Positive Essential Tremor Data Using Focused Ultrasound

    The Gray Sheet, a cornerstone medical device publication for the healthcare industry, touts promising data on FUS for essential tremor and recognizes the Foundation's unique model in supporting research.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Reduces Tremor, Improves Quality of Life for ET Patients Study Shows

    AANS PRESS RELEASE Embargoed until April 29, 2013, 2:30 p.m. CDTContact:John A. IwanskiDirector of Member and Public Outreach(847) 378-0517 |

    Subjects of Phase I Study of Transcranial MR-guided Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy See Reduced Tremor,Improved Quality of Life

    NEW ORLEANS (April 29, 2013) — Research findings offered today during the 81st American Association ofNeurological Surgeons (AANS) Annual Scientific Meeting show that the use of transcranial MR-guided focused ultrasoundfor producing a thalamotomy can have significant positive effects on subjects suffering from essential tremor.

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  • Hospital for Sick Children Researching Focused Ultrasound as Treatment for Pediatric Bone Tumors, Stroke and Epilepsy

    When James Drake, MD submitted his proposal for the “Chase an Idea” grant, pediatric focused ultrasound was the idea he wanted to chase. Drake, the chief of neurosurgery at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, Canada, understood the potential of focused ultrasound and was eager to explore its use in children. Receipt of that grant, from the Centre for Brain and Behavior at SickKids, provided the means to establish the Center for Image Guided Innovation and Therapeutic Intervention (CIGITI) with Drake at the helm.

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  • Multi-center Pivotal Trial Will Be the Next Step in Evaluating Focused Ultrasound as Essential Tremor Treatment

    The encouraging results of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation-funded essential tremor Phase I pilot clinical trial at the University of Virginia have led to planning for the next data-gathering step required for regulatory approval: a global, multi-site pivotal Phase III study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of transcranial MR-guided focused ultrasound in treating essential tremor. Device maker InSightec, Ltd., which is sponsoring the study, has obtained U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for a double-arm protocol and expects as many as eight sites and 72 patients to participate.

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  • Pioneering Patients Tell the World About Their Focused Ultrasound Treatment

    Many of the 15 patients who participated in the Focused Ultrasound Foundation-funded pilot essential tremor study at the University of Virginia have stepped forward to share their story with the news media. By doing so, they have added a new dimension to the role patient participants play in advancing a promising new medical technology. Their courage and their stories have touched people around the world and spurred interest in using noninvasive sound waves instead of scalpels to treat movement disorders.

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  • Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound Launched


    The growing field of therapeutic ultrasound welcomes its first open access journal

     

    Open access publisher BioMed Central is proud to announce the launch of Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound in partnership with the Focused Ultrasound Foundation and the International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound.

    Therapeutic ultrasound is a fast growing field and all parties involved believe that having a dedicated open access journal in this area can only speed up the development and eventual adoption of this important clinical tool by the wider medical community.

    Focused ultrasound has the potential to be an alternative or complement for radiation therapy, the means to dissolve blood clots, and a way to deliver drugs in extremely high concentrations to a precise point in the body. It has the potential to treat a variety of serious medical disorders, including cancer, uterine fibroids, essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and neuropathic pain.  

    “Focused ultrasound technology has enormous potential to improve the quality of lives for millions around the world,” noted Neal F. Kassell, M.D., Chairman and Founder of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation. “The research reported in the Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound will be central to advancing the field and will help accelerate the progress of focused ultrasound towards clinical adoption.” 

    Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound encompasses all aspects of therapeutic ultrasound, namely, the stimulus, inhibition, or modification of tissue function or structure via insonification. Led by Editors-in-Chief Arik Hananel, Focused Ultrasound  Foundation, USA and Robert Muratore, Quantum Now LLC, USA, with an international editorial board consisting of the best in the field of focused ultrasound, this open access, peer-reviewed, online journal focuses mainly on translational and clinical research.

    Deborah Kahn, BioMed Central’s Publishing Director said, "We’re very pleased to welcome the Focused Ultrasound Foundation and the International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound as new publishing partners to BioMed Central, and we share their excitement in launching the Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound within our growing list of society journals."

    The launch edition includes two research articles. One looks at the impact of vaporized nanoemulsions on ultrasound-mediated ablation. If these results can be replicated in the clinic, microbubbles could improve the efficiency of high intensity ultrasound treatment of solid tumors. An editorial on ‘The Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound - broadening knowledge in a rapidly growing field’ by Editors-in-Chief Arik Hananel and Robert Muratore, is also featured. 

    All Article-Processing Charges (APC) for the journal are currently covered by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation.

    Media Contact
    Rebecca Fairbairn
    Public Relations Manager, BioMed Central
    Tel:  +44 (0) 20 3192 2433
    Mob: +44 (0) 7825 257423
    Email: 

     

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  • Chang Performs World's First Focused Ultrasound Treatment for OCD

    On June 14, 2011, GE Healthcare Korea and InSightec, Ltd. co-hosted a conference to recognize two important developments in the focused ultrasound community.

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  • St. Vincent’s Hospital (Australia) Assessing Focused Ultrasound as a Treatment for High Blood Pressure

    Patient recruitment is underway at St. Peter’s Hospital in Melbourne, Victoria for a clinical trial assessing the safety of a focused ultrasound system in treating patients with drug-resistant hypertension. Manufactured by privately-held, US-based Kona Medical, the system is designed to noninvasively ablate renal nerves, which play a significant role in determining blood pressure. Entitled, “A Feasibility Study: A Safety Evaluation of Renal Denervation Using Focused Therapeutic Ultrasound on Patients With Refractory Hypertension,” the study is expected to treat as many as 20 patients between now and September 2013 and follow them for 24 weeks. Principal Investigator is Robert Whitbourn, MD. Further information can be obtained by emailing Catherine Peeler at .

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  • St-Augustin Urology Clinic in France Using Focused Ultrasound to Treat Prostate Cancer

    EDAP TMS SA reports that patients with prostate cancer are being successfully treated at the St-Augustin Urology Clinic in Bordeaux, France utilizing the company’s Ablatherm High Intensity Focused Ultrasound system. Dr. Thierry Piechaud, partner and urology surgeon at the clinic, noted, "We are very enthusiastic about adding the Ablatherm-HIFU device to our therapeutic arsenal. We believe HIFU has developed a clear lead among other current technologies as a new approach and a modern concept of non-invasive treatment for early stage prostate cancer which preserves patient quality of life." EDAP reports that there are 278 Ablatherm installations worldwide.

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  • American Urologists Express Increased Interest in Focused Ultrasound

    Recent comments by executives of EDAP TMS and US HIFU indicate that interest in focused ultrasound treatment for prostate cancer is increasing among members of the American Urological Association. Marc Oczachowski, Chief Executive Officer of EDAP TMS, said that the company “experienced record attendance and exceptional enthusiasm from U.S. urologists” at its exhibit booth at the AUA meeting, which was held May 19–23, 2012 in Atlanta. He noted that “awareness levels are building” as the company prepares for to submit its Ablatherm-HIFU filing to the US FDA later this year.

    Mike Klein, US HIFU Chief Executive Officer said, "We have an unprecedented number of meetings scheduled at AUA.” He added that the company, which is conducting US clinical trials of its Sonoblate system, was “actively seeking insight from urologists to guide the development of HIFU technologies to further enhance the safety and efficacy and identify areas of interest to focus studies and clinical trials for a wide range of applications." READ PRESS RELEASE

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  • Foundation-funded Fellow is Pioneering New Treatment for Urological Cancer Patients

    Watching patients suffer from metastatic prostate cancer motivatedSarfraz Ahmad, MBBS, PhD, MRCSI, MRCSEd to pursue a career in urological surgery. His belief in focused ultrasound’s ability to help those patients propelled him to apply for a two-year Foundation fellowship, which he received in August 2011.

    In his fellowship application, Ahmad wrote: “I truly believe that treatment based on the principles of ultrasound energy has a great future. This is not only a minimally invasive intervention but also can be repeated without any significant side effects. This is in contrast to current treatment options such as radiotherapy and use of opoids as pain killers. I am committed to academic urology with a focus on MRgHIFU treatment in localised and metastatic prostate cancer treatment.”

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  • Site Update: Sapienza University Emerging as a Driving Force for FUS in Europe

    Since installing an ExAblate 2100 system in May 2010, Sapienza University of Rome has emerged as a driving force for the European focused ultrasound community. Within six months of opening, its clinical team had treated 15 patients with uterine fibroids and was involved in clinical trials for prostate, breast and pancreatic cancer. In fact, the center was the first in the world to use MR-guided focused ultrasound to provide pain palliation for patients with primary pancreatic cancer.

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  • Advances in Therapeutic and Diagnostic Ultrasound is Topic of Special AAPM Symposium, Aug. 1-3, 2011

    The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) will be conducting a joint meeting with the Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists (COMP) from July 31 through August 4 in Vancouver. The Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation is one of the supporters of a special symposium, Advances in Therapeutic and Diagnostic Ultrasound, being held during the meeting from August 1 to 3.

    The special symposium will provide day-long programs dedicated to education, therapy and diagnoses. Scheduled for August 2, the session on therapy is being organized by Christian Diederich, PhD, Director of the Thermal Therapy Research Group at the University of California San Francisco. His collaborator is Stanley Benedict, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of Radiological Physics at the University of Virginia.

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  • German Radiologist Leads the Way in Surmounting FUS Reimbursement Barriers

    Clinician interview: Matthias Matzko, MD, Amper Kliniken AG, Dachau, Germany

    Matthias Matzko, MD has emerged as a leading European advocate for MR-guided focused ultrasound. In his native Germany, he has also played a key role in eliminating one of the most challenging barriers to widespread adoption of the promising medical technology: reimbursement.

    Head of Interventional and Diagnostic Radiology at the 450-bed Amper Kliniken AG in Dachau, Matzko learned about focused ultrasound in 2008 from a colleague. He admits to becoming “kind of infected” with enthusiasm for the technology after visiting Wladyslaw Gedroyc, MD at St. Mary’s Hospital in London.

    Matzko immediately recognized the potential of focused ultrasound and wanted to offer it at his hospital’s Myomzentrum, a center for the treatment of uterine myoma (fibroids), which had opened in June 2008. The center was already performing uterine artery embolization, myomectomy and hysterectomy.

    “When I came back from London, I was very excited about the technology, and I was thinking about how to implement this in our environment,” he recalls. “Talking with the hospital administration, they were unsure about investing in the risk of a new method.”

    Photo
    Matthias Matko, MD

    De-risking equipment acquisition

    So strong was his conviction, the business-savvy Matzko offered to rent a focused ultrasound system through an imaging company he heads and have it set up in the hospital. “I took the risk off the hospital administration,” he says. Arrangements were made through GE Financial to lease an ExAblate System from InSightec, Ltd.

    At first, Matzko and his team performed focused ultrasound procedures only on Wednesdays and Saturdays, during time slots when the Myomzentrum’s MRI was made available to them. They performed five to ten treatments a month. As more patients learned about the availability and benefits of focused ultrasound, the center’s monthly treatment volume increased to 10-12 patients. “Our machine was fully booked in advance for about a four-month period of time,” Matzko explains.

    Careful patient selection aids reimbursement

    From the start, Matzko and his colleagues were convinced that careful patient selection was essential to achieving good results with focused ultrasound. Only a third of their uterine fibroid patients met the treatment criteria. “When you want to have reimbursement for such a new method, you have to produce good results, and that’s why you have to select patients very carefully,” he says.

    With good results and patient satisfaction documented, Matzko and colleagues applied for reimbursement from Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), one of the largest insurance companies in Germany. Company representatives visited Amper Kliniken and focused ultrasound treatment sites in Berlin and Bochum.

    Matzko says two factors were of greatest interest to the insurance company: 1) that only patients suited for focused ultrasound were treated with it; and 2) the Myomzentrum’s interdisciplinary team, which includes a gynecologist who provides both treatment and information to patients.

    Although pleased with both the clinic’s results and services, the insurance company raised a red flag. The capacity to treat only three patients a week seemed too limited to qualify for reimbursement from a nationwide insurer.

    Rather than a barrier, this objection became the basis of collaboration between the clinic, the insurance company and – ultimately – Amper Kliniken’s administration. Together, they planned the expansion of the existing focused ultrasound center. By this point, Matzko explains, “The hospital administration was convinced about the method of focused ultrasound and convinced about the business model.” 

    The expanded center opened in March 2010 with a fully dedicated MRI and ExAblate 2000. By then, the two largest German medical insurers were covering MR-guided focused ultrasound treatments. With all the pieces in place, the center’s monthly treatment volume quickly doubled.

    The Dachau clinic continues to be on the leading edge of focused ultrasound technology. In November 2010, it became one of the first sites in the world to install the ExAblate One, the second generation system developed by GE Healthcare and InSightec. In the future, Matzko plans to expand treatment offerings to include new applications of the technology.

    Marketing is another key to success

    Matzko acknowledges that marketing was initially a challenge for the focused ultrasound center. “We started in a typical radiological manner,” he says. “We did marketing to referring physicians, and we informed all of our gynecologist colleagues in the south of Germany, in Switzerland, in Austria about our new center. The result was very poor.”

    Recognizing that a strategy switch was in order, the center began marketing directly to patients via a new website and the use of Google ads. Increased patient requests for information led to the creation of a 24-hour hotline staffed by two patient managers knowledgeable about uterine fibroid treatment options. “Our aim is to figure out the ideal method to treat the personal situation of the patient,” Matzko explains. 

    In addition to Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the Dachau clinic is attracting patients throughout Eastern Europe and elsewhere. “They come from Poland, from Russia, from Bulgaria and even we had one patient coming in from Dubai,” Matzko notes. “We now have, in a small hospital like ours, an international customership.”

     

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  • Chronic back pain caused by facet joint disease is latest frontier for MR-guided focused ultrasound clinical trials

    The Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation has awarded a $232,808 research award to Wladyslaw M. Gedroyc, M.D. of St. Mary’s Hospital in London for a two-year randomized clinical trial comparing MR-guided focused ultrasound with radiofrequency ablation in the treatment of back pain caused by facet joint disease.

    The clinical trial marks the next step in Gedroyc’s pioneering efforts to develop a noninvasive treatment for facet joint disease that provides more complete and longer lasting pain relief than current therapies. He and his team at St. Mary’s Hospital have already conducted a non-randomized pilot clinical trial in which MR-guided focused ultrasound was used to treat 17 patients suffering from extreme back pain caused by facet joint osteoarthritis. Post-treatment assessments show the technology is safe and effective. Click hereto read full story and watch video interview.

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  • Magazine Features Bone Mets and Uterine Fibroid Trials at UVA

    Clinical trials using MR-guided focused ultrasound to treat uterine fibroids and pain from cancer that has metastasized to bones are enrolling patients at the University of Virginia Health System. Details of those studies are reported in the latest issue of the UVA edition of Physician’s Practice Magazine.Click below to view the full report.

    UVA Physicians Practice Magazine Article

     

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  • UVA Focused Ultrasound Center of Excellence Launches Clinical Trials Program

    Researchers are using new generation of MR-guided focused ultrasound equipment to treat patients with uterine fibroids and pain from metastatic bone tumors.

    Dedicated in September 2009, the Foundation-sponsored Focused Ultrasound Center of Excellence at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville has taken the first steps in building a robust, multi-disciplinary clinical trial program.

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  • Chen Reports MR-guided Focused Ultrasound Has Potential to Boost Efficacy of Prostate Cancer Drug

    On June 14, 2011, GE Healthcare Korea and InSightec, Ltd. co-hosted a conference to recognize two important developments in the focused ultrasound community.

    First was the attainment of the 500-patient mark by the focused ultrasound team at CHA Bundang Medical Center in Seoul. Under the leadership of Sang-Wook Yoon, MD, the team has been treating uterine fibroid patients for five years. CHA’s one-year follow up data shows that 95% of patients have experienced improvement and that 18 have either become pregnant or given birth.

    The second development acknowledged at the event is the purchase of ExAblate brain and body systems by Yonsei University Medical Center. Jin Woo Chang, MD will use the new brain system to conduct the world’s first clinical trial in which patients with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) will receive MR-guided focused ultrasound therapy. Yonsei researchers are also planning clinical trials involving patients with metastatic bone tumors, low-risk and intermediate risk prostate cancers, essential tremor, and brain cancer.

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  • At Its First Meeting, FUS Foundation Council Visits UVA Center of Excellence

    Executive Perspective: Falko Busse, PhD, Philips Healthcare 

    Asian markets are leading the adoption of focused ultrasound, reports Falko Busse, PhD, vice president and general manager of MR-HIFU for Philips Healthcare.

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  • Thilo Hoelscher, M.D. exploring use of FUS to treat ischemic stroke

    Trained as a neurologist, Thilo Hoelscher, M.D., has travelled a long way from his native Germany and his early clinical experiences at that country’s first stroke unit. Now an assistant professor in the Departments of Radiology and Neurosciences at the University of California San Diego, he is Director of its Brain Ultrasound Research Laboratory and working once again on the forefront of medicine.

    As a researcher and clinician, Hoelscher has extensive experience in using transcranial ultrasound as a diagnostic tool. In 2007, he learned about high intensity focused ultrasound and became intrigued with its potential to treat the human brain. Since then, he has completed hundreds of preclinical experiments with FUS and concentrated on developing therapies based on a clot-busting technique, transcranial sonothrombolysis. He recently received a multi-million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health to study sonothrombolysis as a treatment for ischemic stroke.

    Hoelscher, who received a FUSF fellowship in 2009, expects to begin pilot clinical trials in 2011 using FUS to treat stroke and believes success is inevitable. “Once it is approved for use in patients, FUS will be without equal – it will have no competition. In treating ischemic stroke, for example, it will dissolve blood clots and restore blood flow within seconds. Drugs like tPA won’t be necessary,” he says.

    Hoelscher’s work has moved beyond exploring the thermal ablative capabilities of FUS to assessing its use in precise drug delivery and its ability to induce cellular mechanisms.

    Noting that the pace of FUS research is accelerating, he says. “Our work has been booming during the last six to eight months. Everything has started to progress rapidly. Researchers from all over the place are interested in focused ultrasound. Ideas and new collaborations are popping up everywhere.”

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  • 10th Neurosurgery Patient Treated at Zurich Hospital with Focused Ultrasound

    The University Children’s Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland recently celebrated treating its tenth neurosurgery patient with focused ultrasound. The patient had suffered for almost ten years from neuropathic pain – pain that originated when a benign brain tumor damaged nerve fibers in his brain which led to extreme pain and cramping in his right arm.

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