Charlottesville, Va., October 13, 2021 – In a first-in-world clinical trial, researchers at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Canada, have demonstrated that magnetic resonance (MR)-guided focused ultrasound can be used to safely deliver antibody therapy to breast cancer that has metastasized to the brain.
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We are sad to report the deaths of two dear friends and Foundation supporters, Albert Small, Sr. and Leigh Middleditch, Jr. Both men were proud to be involved in the Foundation’s efforts to drive progress in the field of focused ultrasound.
We are saddened to share that the Foundation has lost a devoted supporter and friend, Dr. Aaron Stern. Dr. Stern joined the Foundation’s Council in 2012 and served until his passing earlier this year.
The Foundation’s Global Internship Program allows high school and college students who are interested in focused ultrasound to conduct research with esteemed mentors in the field. Applications are being accepted through midnight Eastern time on April 26, 2021.
The Foundation has released its 2020 Year in Reviewreport that includes clinical milestones from the field of focused ultrasound and highlights the Foundation’s achievements over the past year. Learn how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the field and how you can help.
READ THE REPORT >
The Andrew J. Lockhart Postdoctoral Fellowship in Focused Ultrasound and Immuno-Oncology was established in January 2021 through the generosity of the Lockhart family, who are longtime supporters of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation. This one-year fellowship will pair early-career focused ultrasound investigators with immunology laboratories and/or immuno-oncology investigators with focused ultrasound laboratories. The award will provide a one-year stipend of $75,000.
The Foundation is pleased to welcome Alice W. Handy, a pioneer in institutional investing, to its Council, a group of passionate individuals who collaborate with the Board of Directors and Foundation staff to help build awareness and raise funds for focused ultrasound.
The Foundation is pleased to welcome David R. Goode, a highly acclaimed industrial leader, to its Council, a group of passionate individuals who collaborate with the Board of Directors and Foundation staff to help build awareness and raise funds for focused ultrasound.
Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT) is a unique investment entity within Koch Industries, Inc., that partners with principled entrepreneurs who are building transformative companies to change the world.
On July 14, graduate student Natasha Sheybani successfully defended her dissertation to earn a PhD from the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Engineering & Applied Science. “Leveraging Focused Ultrasound to Potentiate Immunotherapy for Primary and Disseminated Solid Tumors” was the accumulation of five years spent studying the use of focused ultrasound for cancer immunotherapy.
Paul Manning is Chairman and CEO of PBM Capital, a healthcare-focused investment firm that invests in companies in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries.
The Foundation established a dedicated Cancer Immunotherapy Program in 2015, with a mission to explore the potential of focused ultrasound in the cancer immunotherapy field. As part of this program, the Foundation invites funding applications for collaborative projects that address key questions driving the field.
The Foundation is seeking public comments on these guidelines to ensure that they are comprehensive and address challenges faced by the community. The public comment period is open until July 15, 2020.
Submit your Comments Now > Your feedback is essential so please comment by July 15.
Our recently published 2019 Year in Review report includes clinical milestones from the field of focused ultrasound and highlights the Foundation’s achievements over the past year.
Kranion, an Open-source Environment for Planning Transcranial Focused Ultrasound Surgery: Technical Note
Like everyone, we at the Foundation are preoccupied with the COVID-19 pandemic and its health and economic consequences, which are rapidly evolving. Despite this, we all remain deeply committed to accomplishing our mission of accelerating the development and adoption of focused ultrasound.In the interest of everyone's well-being, essentially the entire Foundation team is working from home. We are all healthy, well-connected, and productive; all of the Foundation's programs, initiatives, and activities are operating close to normal. Please don't hesitate to interact. We are here for you, and we’re in this together.Be safe. Be well.Neal F. Kassell, MDFocused Ultrasound Foundation Chairman
Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD, addresses expectations.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Information for NIH Applicants and Recipients of NIH Funding | National Institutes of Health
CMS Announces Relief for Clinicians, Providers, Hospitals, and Facilities Participating in the Quality Reporting Programs in Response to COVID-19 | Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (March 22, 2020)
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources | US Small Busines Administration Treasury, IRS and Labor announce plan to implement Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses to swiftly recover the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave | Internal Revenue Service (March 20, 2020)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Issues Guidance for Conducting Clinical Trials | US Food & Drug Administration (March 19, 2020)
CMS Releases Recommendations on Adult Elective Surgeries, Non-Essential Medical, Surgical, and Dental Procedures During COVID-19 Response | Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (March 19, 2020)
White House Task Force
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institutes of Heath
World Health Organization AdvaMed COVID-19 Medtech Resource Center
Resources for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Companies Impacted By COVID-19 | Small Business Administration (April 2, 2020)
Paycheck Protection Program FAQs for Small Businesses | US Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (March 30, 2020)
Coronavirus Emergency Loans - Small Business Guide and Checklist | US Chamber of Commerce (March 30, 2020)
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources | US Small Business Administration Treasury, IRS and Labor announce plan to implement Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses to swiftly recover the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave | Internal Revenue Service (March 20, 2020)
How the Treasury Department is Taking Action: CARES Act | US Department of the Treasury (March 17, 2020)
The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.
Coronavirus: What People with Cancer Should Know | National Cancer InstituteLife with Cancer During the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19) | Cancer Research Institute (March 20, 2020)Ask the MD: Living with Parkinson’s Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic | The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (March 20, 2020)
Together with its advocacy partner, the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), the Foundation recently hosted a summit on reimbursement strategies for focused ultrasound treatments.
Following the success of last year’s event, the Foundation partnered with the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) to host a second “fly-in” event on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. On March 10, a passionate group of focused ultrasound patients and physicians joined representatives from the Foundation, MITA, and industry to educate policymakers on the innovative technology.
The Foundation has launched a multicenter, international registry to evaluate focused ultrasound as a treatment option for patients with pancreatic cancer.
During a 2016 brain workshop, Foundation staff asked several research groups to participate in a “volumetric thermometry challenge” to develop and propose novel MRI sequences that could expand the volume of temperature data captured during focused ultrasound brain treatments. As part of his remote research fellowship, Will Grissom, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University, compared and analyzed the submitted sequences to determine which method best met the technical and clinical requirements established at the workshop.
In 2017, the Focused Ultrasound Foundation established the Andrew J. Lockhart Memorial Prize through support of the family and friends of Andrew J. Lockhart, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 39 after a hard-fought battle with cholangiocarcinoma, a particularly virulent cancer affecting the biliary system of the liver and gallbladder. The Prize is intended to support research that could lead to more effective therapeutic interventions for hard-to-treat cancers like the cancer that took his life.
Francesco Prada, MD, has returned to the Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta in Milan, Italy after two years of working with the Foundation in Charlottesville. Prada is a neurosurgeon who joined the Foundation in July 2017 as our first clinical Merkin scholar and agreed to stay for a year beyond his fellowship as the Foundation’s Brain Program Director. During these two years he also served as Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia (UVA). As he transitions back to his home institution in Milan, Dr. Prada spoke with us about the status of his projects and what he hopes to accomplish in the near future.
In the past several months there has been a strong uptick in interest in the Foundation’s FUS Partners program, launched in April 2018. It is a critical time in the evolution of the focused ultrasound field where success of the commercial sector is becoming more important as the technology progresses toward becoming a mainstream standard of care that can impact the lives of millions of people.
In April 2018, the Foundation and the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) formed a partnership with the goal of raising awareness of focused ultrasound technology among policymakers, payors, and medical specialty societies. The ultimate aim is to reduce barriers to commercialization and increase patient access to focused ultrasound therapies.
Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD, and Asia Program Director Jessica Lukens recently returned from a week-long visit to Hong Kong and Taiwan, during which more than 20 meetings were held to discuss the current and potential impact of focused ultrasound in Asia and around the world.
In May 2018, Foundation scientists released Kranion®, a highly visual and interactive, open-source transcranial focused ultrasound modeling system for conducting research. Kranion® allows scientists to “see” how the paths of focused ultrasound’s invisible sound waves behave as they pass through the skull while aiming for a particular target in the brain.
In early March, veteran researchers and students across the field of focused ultrasound convened in Les Houches, France, for the 2019 Winter School on Therapeutic Ultrasound.
Held biennially, the School offers an excellent opportunity for those early in their career to meet and connect with experts in focused ultrasound. The educational agenda included lectures from esteemed researchers in the field.
This year, the Foundation sponsored seven students to attend the Winter School. Learn more about each student, their research, and what they found most valuable about their experience at the workshop.Gadi Cohen, PhDPostdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Diagnostic Radiology Research, Clinical Center at the National Institutes of HealthCurrent research focus: Proteomic and transcriptomic changes in tumor microenvironment of murine melanoma and breast cancer models following pulsed ultrasound treatment Mentor: Joseph Frank, MD
“As a scientist in cancer research, I use ultrasound daily and examine its therapeutic benefits. However, until participating in the Winter School, I have yet to experience such a thorough and comprehensive seminar regarding the basics of the use and theory behind this technology. The variety of high quality speakers with an obvious passion for the field gave both fascinating and highly useful talks. The tools and insight I got from these lectures are invaluable. In addition to expanding my knowledge, I also expanded my worldwide network of collaborators and friends in the field. There are a few potential collaborations that may come out of these new connections. I thank the Focused Ultrasound Foundation for this wonderful opportunity, and I hope you continue to extend this opportunity to other young scientists in the field, so they can benefit as I did.” –Gadi Cohen
Jennifer M. Colón Mercado, PhDPost-doctoral IRTA fellow in the Laboratory of Diagnostic Radiology Research, Clinical Center at the National Institutes of HealthCurrent research focus: Inflammatory response after blood-brain barrier disruption using focused ultrasoundMentor: Joseph Frank, MD
“Participating in the Winter School 2019 allowed me to exchange ideas and future research directions with the leaders in the field of focused ultrasound. The Winter School provided an optimal environment to network with top researchers. The evening meetings and discussions allowed us to reflect on current and future investigations and the potential contributions to the field that could have great impact in the clinical setting. The sponsorship by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation allowed me to obtain a better understanding of ultrasound physics and the translational properties of this technology.” – Jennifer M. Colón Mercado
Delaney FisherPhD student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of VirginiaCurrent research focus: Using focused ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier for the delivery of neurotrophic factors in models of Parkinson’s diseaseMentor: Richard Price, PhD
“As a first year PhD student, the extensive lectures offered during the Winter School greatly expanded my knowledge on the fundamentals of therapeutic ultrasound as well as the multitude of its applications. During the week, I was able to form connections with people from all over the world in differing areas of expertise and gain insights from them to improve our lab’s practices and considerations. Students are also encouraged to present their work at the workshop, which further fosters discussion and collaborations of those with overlapping research goals. I am incredibly grateful for the Focused Ultrasound Foundation’s sponsorship for me to attend this workshop. Winter School offers the opportunity to learn, demonstrate, and connect, which is important for the growth of all young researchers and, ultimately, the focused ultrasound field.” – Delaney Fisher
William GarrisonPhD student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of VirginiaCurrent research focus: MRI, primarily in the contexts of lung imaging and focused ultrasound treatment assessmentMentor: Wilson Miller, PhD
“Focused ultrasound medical research draws scientists from many different backgrounds, including biology, physics, engineering, and fields in between these. As trainees generally cannot be experts in all of these disciplines, it is extremely enriching for us to have the opportunity to meet and form connections with other trainees who have expertise in different fields related to focused ultrasound.” –William Garrison
Catherine GorickPhD student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of VirginiaCurrent research focus: Developing a platform for endothelial-selective transfection of the cerebral vasculature using focused ultrasoundMentor: Richard Price, PhD
“The Winter School program facilitated many networking connections with other students as well as post-docs and professors from around the world. It also provided me with a strong education in the various physical mechanisms of ultrasound and MRI and introduced me to some different applications of these technologies with which I was not otherwise familiar. I came away from the program with some new ideas about how best to monitor cavitation during preclinical brain FUS treatments.” –Catherine Gorick
Ying Meng, MDNeurosurgery resident at the University of Toronto Current research focus: Investigating the biological effect of focused ultrasound blood-brain barrier opening on the brain and systemicallyMentor: Nir Lipsman, MD, PhD
“The 2019 Winter School provided a comprehensive program from world experts in therapeutic ultrasound. Speakers from basic and clinical research, as well as industry, offered diverse perspectives. Sponsorship of young researchers by the FUS Foundation was an invaluable opportunity to expand our knowledge, accelerate research, and network with experts from across the world in a friendly environment. In particular, I was inspired with new insight on how to approach current research challenges.” –Ying Meng
Andrew ThimPhD student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of VirginiaCurrent research focus: Using focused ultrasound to promote anti-tumor therapeutic delivery, leukocyte adhesion and infiltrationMentor: Richard Price, PhD
“The Winter School allows us to gather with like-minded individuals and learn about our field, from the mechanical to biological, in a completely immersive environment. While at the Winter School, I was able to troubleshoot my in-house built FUS system with Erik Dumont, an expert in image-guided therapy. He was able to diagnose the problem immediately after I described it. It also made me want to focus more on the technical aspect of focused ultrasound in conjunction with the biological therapy so as to make more informed therapeutic hypotheses.” –Andrew Thim
Left to right: William Garrison, Andrew Thim, Catherine Gorick, Delaney Fisher
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