Research News

  • World-First Clinical Trial Demonstrates Focused Ultrasound Can Deliver Antibody Therapy to Breast Cancer Metastases in the Brain

    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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  • Natasha Sheybani, PhD, Receives NIH Director’s Early Independence Award

    • The award is given to outstanding junior scientists and enables them to launch an independent research career.
    • Dr. Sheybani will be an assistant professor and establish her research lab at the University of Virginia this fall.
    • She is also a Senior Scientist at the Foundation.

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  • A New Method for Using Ultrasound Neuromodulation in Deep Regions of the Brain

    • Researchers in Hong Kong recently completed a study to improve targeting and effectiveness for low-intensity ultrasound neuromodulation of the small animal brain.
    • The group designed and tested a neurostimulation scheme that used gas vesicles to improve spatial resolution.
    • Testing revealed the treatment to be dose-dependent, repeatable, reversible, and capable of reaching a deep-seated region of the brain.

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  • Meeting Report: American Urological Association (AUA) Annual Meeting 2021

    The 2021 American Urological Association (AUA) Annual Meeting was held September 10-13, 2021.

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  • Meeting Report: iTRUSST Focused Ultrasound Neuromodulation (FUN) Symposium 2021

    On September 7-10, 2021, iTRUSST held its 2nd Focused Ultrasound Neuromodulation (FUN) Symposium as an online conference originating from the University of Oxford, UK.

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  • Meeting Report: IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium (IUS) 2021

    The IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium (IUS) 2021 was held as a virtual meeting September 11-16, 2021.

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  • Meeting Report: Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology Society of Europe (CIRSE) 2021 Summit

    The Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology Society of Europe (CIRSE) 2021 Summit was held virtually September 25-28, 2021.

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  • Johns Hopkins and Collaborators Create Medical Device Design and Innovation Laboratories

    • Three new innovation laboratories are focused on bringing together the worlds of Ultrasound and Spinal Cord Injury.
    • The sites are called HEPIUS (Holistic Electrical, ultrasonic and Physiological Interventions Unburdening those with Spinal cord injury) after the Greek god of medicine and healing.

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  • Foundation and CRI Host Cancer Immunotherapy Workshop

    • The Foundation partnered with the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) to host a two-day virtual workshop to discuss recent advances in the use of focused ultrasound for cancer immunotherapy.
    • Video recordings of the presentations are now available.
    • A summary of the workshop will be published in the coming weeks.

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  • Focused Ultrasound—Induced Blood-Brain Barrier Opening for Patients with Glioma is Safe, Controlled, and Monitorable

    • A group of researchers analyzed MRI, histology, and harmonic dose data to determine that the use of microbubbles and focused ultrasound was safe for opening the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in patients with infiltrating gliomas.
    • Data from the Phase 0 trial showed a significant, 2.2-fold increase of fluorescein accumulation in tumor tissues that were treated with microbubbles and focused ultrasound.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Reduces Pain for Patients with Chronic Knee Osteoarthritis

    • Researchers in Japan recently published clinical trial results using focused ultrasound to treat patients with knee pain secondary to chronic osteoarthritis.
    • The group applied ablative thermal treatment to the medial femorotibial joint of each participant.
    • Most participants (73.7%) had significant reductions in pain in the 12 months following treatment.

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  • Research Awards Update: 15 Projects Initiated in the First Six Months of 2021

    • The Foundation’s Research Awards Program has launched or funded 15 new studies through the first half of 2021.
    • These projects include 10 preclinical laboratory studies and 5 clinical trials.
    • Learn more about our funded projects and how to apply for a research award.

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  • Recently Completed Foundation-Funded Research

    • The Foundation funded three projects that have been completed in the first half of 2021.
    • Topics include improved imaging for focused ultrasound brain treatments, treating low-grade tumors in dogs, and a preclinical pancreatic cancer model that responded to histotripsy.

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  • Histotripsy Featured in Special Issue of IEEE Journal

    • The issue compiles 20 histotripsy articles from global research groups.
    • Topics include liver tumors, blood clot degradation, urinary tract infections, immune system activation, and abdominal, brain, and tendon treatments.
    • The volume is dedicated in memory of Dr. Charles Cain.

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  • Meeting Report: Society for Neuro-Oncology Brain Metastases Conference

    • The 3rd Annual Conference on Brain Metastases was held virtually August 19–20, 2021.
    • Nir Lipsman, MD, PhD, presented data from his recently completed metastatic breast cancer treatment study.
    • The meeting included live presentations, prerecorded abstract presentations, and an electronic poster session.

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  • Foundation Participates in Male Breast Cancer Coalition Conference

    • The Male Breast Cancer Coalition hosted a virtual conference August 5-7, 2021.
    • The Foundation’s Director of Clinical Relationships presented the current state of focused ultrasound for treating breast cancer.

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  • Case Report: Focused Ultrasound for Sacroiliac Joint Osteoarthritis

    • Christoph A. Binkert, MD, MBA, of Kantonsspital Winterthur in Switzerland, shares a report of a patient with sacroiliac joint (SIJ) osteoarthritis.
    • Learn how focused ultrasound therapy helped the patient control her disabling pain and return to work.

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  • Meeting Report: American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) 2021

    • AAPM’s 63rd Annual Meeting and Exhibition took place virtually July 25-29 with the theme “Creative Science. Advancing Medicine.”
    • Focused ultrasound-related sessions addressed neurorestoration, neuromodulation, and mechanical tissue destruction.

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  • NaviFUS Receives Approval for Focused Ultrasound Trial to Enhance Radiotherapy

    • A new clinical trial will combine focused ultrasound and radiotherapy in patients with primary brain tumors.
    • Studies suggest that opening the blood-brain barrier to enhance oxygenation of brain tissue could make radiotherapy more effective.
    • The Foundation is funding this trial, which is expected to begin in Taiwan in September.

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  • Simultaneous Measurement of Temperature and Tissue Mechanical Properties during Focused Ultrasound

    • A new ultrasound pulse sequence can simultaneously evaluate the contributions of thermal and mechanical effects on tissue caused by focused ultrasound.
    • The new sequence uses both thermal strain imaging and harmonic motion imaging.
    • Several focused ultrasound applications may find this technology useful.

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  • Meeting Report: 180th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America

    • The latest ASA meeting was held virtually June 8-10 with the theme “Acoustics in Focus.”
    • There were seven presentations relevant to focused ultrasound research.
    • We thank LabTAU’s Maxime Lafond, PhD, for his comments on the sessions.

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  • First Glioblastoma Patient Treated in Focused Ultrasound Clinical Trial at University of Virginia

    • This multicenter clinical trial is evaluating the safety of using focused ultrasound to temporarily and reversibly open the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in glioblastoma patients undergoing standard chemotherapy treatment.
    • Researchers hope that disrupting the BBB will enhance the delivery of chemotherapy to the tumor site.
    • The study at the University of Virginia is being led by Jason Sheehan, MD, PhD, Professor of Neurological Surgery and Neuroscience and the Foundation’s Senior Advisor for Brain Tumor Research.
    • The Foundation is contributing to this clinical trial through an ongoing partnership with the UVA Focused Ultrasound Center of Excellence.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Enhances Effect of Aducanumab and Improves Memory in Preclinical Studies

    • Professor Jürgen Götz’s group has published two preclinical studies using focused ultrasound to treat Alzheimer’s disease and the advanced effects of aging.
    • The research included aducanumab, the first drug approved for Alzheimer’s disease in the US in 20 years.
    • The aging study found low-intensity ultrasound could restore memory and cognition.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy Improves Focal Hand Dystonia in Musicians, Others

    • Focal hand dystonia (FHD) causes excessive and involuntary muscle contractions in the fingers, hand, and forearm.
    • A team of researchers in Japan investigated whether focused ultrasound thalamotomy could be used to treat FHD.
    • The group concluded that focused ultrasound thalamotomy significantly improved FHD.

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  • A New Focused Ultrasound Tool to Activate Deep Brain Neurons

    • Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis sought to selectively and noninvasively target specific neurons to better understand brain function and treat brain disorders.
    • Applying focused ultrasound to engineered sonothermogenetic cells induced a safe thermal effect that produced expected behavioral responses.

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  • Meeting Report: ISTU 2021

    • The International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU) annual meeting was held from June 6–9, 2021.
    • The event was hybrid virtual and in-person, with the live portion taking place in Gyeongju, Korea.
    • We thank Dong-guk Paeng, PhD, for this meeting summary.

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  • Bilateral, Staged Focused Ultrasound for Essential Tremor is Feasible

    • To date, most focused ultrasound treatments for essential tremor only address the patient’s dominant side, but many might need to be treated on both sides.
    • Data from a clinical trial suggest that bilateral treatment is feasible and may also be safe and effective.

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  • Histotripsy as a Mechanism for Pancreatic Cancer Immunomodulation

    • Histotripsy is a non-thermal method of using focused ultrasound to mechanically destroy target tissue.
    • Preclinical research suggests that using ultrasound-guided histotripsy to ablate tumor tissue can elicit an immune response.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Treatment Provides Sustained Efficacy for Essential Tremor

    • Researchers evaluated the long-term benefit of focused ultrasound treatment of essential tremor.
    • Data from 395 patients revealed hand tremors significantly improved from baseline to 24 months post-treatment, possibly lasting up to 48 months post-treatment and beyond.

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  • Meeting Report: Therapeutic Ultrasound in Oncology Symposium

    • Experts from four research sites and the Foundation discussed focused ultrasound for cancer at the Society for Thermal Medicine’s (STM) virtual symposium.
    • Topics included pelvic and head/neck cancer, a liver tumor trial, microbubbles and radiotherapy, and ablative therapies in oncology.
    • The Foundation sponsored this important meeting.

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  • Meeting Report: Focused Ultrasound Non-Invasive Neurosurgery Congress

    • The event marked one year since the first transcranial MR-guided focused ultrasound center in Ufa, Russia, opened.
    • The online congress featured speakers from Japan, Taiwan, Spain, United Kingdom, and Russia.

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  • Foundation Hosts Glioblastoma Workshop

    • More than 260 attendees, including 60 experts from 58 institutions around the world, convened virtually to discuss focused ultrasound for glioblastomas (GBM).
    • A summary and a video archive of the presentations will be available in the coming weeks.

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  • Update: CMS Decides to Further Delay MCIT Pathway

    • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have delayed the implementation of the Medicare Coverage of Innovative Technology (MCIT) program until December 15, 2021. 
    • The MCIT will provide immediate, national coverage for breakthrough devices or diagnostics approved by the FDA.
    • The Foundation and our partners including MITA have expressed disappointment in this delay.

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  • Bone Pain from Cancer: Multisite Comparative Clinical Trial of Focused Ultrasound Underway in Europe

    • A multicenter, randomized controlled trial for palliatively treating the pain from bone metastases in cancer patients is underway in four European countries.
    • In all, 216 patients will receive one of three proven treatments, including focused ultrasound.
    • All treatment centers and the Foundation partner in the FURTHER consortium, which recently held its 2nd annual symposium.

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  • Article Explores Focused Ultrasound for Degenerative Disc Disease

    • Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is a major cause of disabling back pain.
    • Focused ultrasound is being researched in preclinical studies and holds promise to help patients with DDD.
    • The National Spine Health Foundation published an article on the topic by the Foundation’s Associate Chief Medical Officer.

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  • Excitatory and Inhibitory Neuron Response to Transcranial Focused Ultrasound

    • Researchers sought to determine the mechanism behind low-intensity transcranial focused ultrasound (tFUS) neuromodulation.
    • They used various tFUS parameters in a preclinical animal model to create distinct effects in specific subpopulations of functional neurons.
    • Bin He's team at Carnegie Mellon University led the collaborative research.

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  • Focused Ultrasound and Parkinson’s Disease

    Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative brain disease that is progressively debilitating and leads to motor dysfunction and cognitive decline. PD affects more than 10 million people worldwide and nearly 1 million in the US. Healthcare costs in the US alone related to PD are estimated at $52 billion per year.

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  • Clinical Trial of Focused Ultrasound for Trigeminal Neuralgia Seeks Patients

    • The University of Maryland School of Medicine has launched a clinical trial investigating focused ultrasound to treat trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic and disabling pain condition.
    • Patients with primary trigeminal neuralgia, including those who have not benefitted from other treatments, are encouraged to inquire.
    • The Foundation is funding this trial and another pain study where patients are treated at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

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  • Meeting Report: 2021 Blood-Brain Barrier Consortium

    • The 26th Annual Blood-Brain Barrier Consortium Meeting was held virtually on March 11 and 12.
    • The meeting included presentations and posters on immunotherapy and drug delivery across the blood-brain barrier and blood-spine barrier.
    • Scott Burks, PhD, a staff scientist at the NIH Clinical Center, provided this report.

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  • The Foundation Launches a New Open Research Repository

    • The Foundation and the Center for Open Science have created an open research repository.
    • Researchers can browse data and materials and contribute their own work to the scholarship from the field.
    • The Foundation is dedicated to open science and encourages transparency in focused ultrasound research.

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  • Research Funding Available Through the New European Innovation Council

    • The European Innovation Council (EIC) identifies and supports breakthrough technologies and game-changing innovations.
    • The EIC plans to invest €10 billion through 2027.
    • Funding and support are organized into three main tiers for all stages of business.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Enhances Delivery of Immunotherapy to Treat Gliomas

    • Cancer immunotherapy, although effective for various types of cancer, has not yet been effective for gliomas.
    • A research team led by Hong Chen, PhD, used focused ultrasound to facilitate intranasal brain delivery, allowed administering effective levels of immune checkpoint inhibitors to the brain.
    • In the preclinical study, the new method enhanced the accumulation of the cancer immunotherapy by approximately four-fold.

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  • New Imaging Methods Improve Focused Ultrasound Brain Treatments

    • Researchers are continually working to improve, refine, and expand the use of focused ultrasound technology.
    • Researchers at Stanford University investigated focus correction across the skull.
    • A new technique, the hybrid angular spectrum method, achieved better results than the standard of care in three important areas.

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  • Focused Ultrasound–Enhanced Blood Test for Brain Tumors: World-First Results Published


    Key Points

    • Liquid biopsy is a blood test used to diagnose and monitor treatment of brain tumors.
    • Nine patients with glioblastoma (GBM) underwent liquid biopsy before and after focused ultrasound treatment that disrupted the blood-brain barrier to enhance chemotherapy delivery.
    • This first-in-human study – recently published in Neuro-Oncology – found focused ultrasound enriched the amount of circulating brain tumor biomarkers in the peripheral blood.
    • The results suggest that focused ultrasound could reduce the need for invasive brain tumor biopsies and allow better monitoring of GBM treatment responses.

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  • Focused Ultrasound for Opioid Use Disorder: First Patient Treated in New Trial


    Key Points

    • Researchers at West Virginia University have treated the first patient in a first-in-the-world clinical trial investigating focused ultrasound to address opioid use disorder.
    • The trial aims to reduce patients’ substance cravings and addictive behaviors.
    • The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the addiction crisis, and researchers hope to be able to offer patients a new treatment option.

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  • Focused Ultrasound for Blood-Brain Barrier Opening in Patients with Parkinson’s Dementia


    Key Points

    • Up to 80% of Parkinson’s disease patients experience problems with attention span and executive and decision-making tasks.
    • Scientists in Madrid tested the safety of using focused ultrasound plus microbubbles to open the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in these patients.
    • This early evidence suggests that BBB opening could be used to deliver neuroprotective therapeutics to prevent or reduce the cognitive symptoms.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Neuromodulation Reaches Deep Brain Structures

    Key Points

    • Researchers sought to determine whether low-intensity focused ultrasound (LIFU) could reach and alter the deepest structures of the brain.
    • These brain circuits are responsible for important cognitive, sensory, and motor functions, but other noninvasive neuromodulation techniques have failed to reach them.
    • When the researchers applied LIFU to healthy volunteers, they observed bold signal and perfusion changes in the targeted regions.
    • The team has published their results in Scientific Reports.

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  • Foundation Hosts Pediatric Benign Brain Tumor Workshop

    Key Points

    • Approximately 30 experts met virtually in December 2020.
    • The group discussed an ongoing clinical trial and next steps for using focused ultrasound to treat pediatric benign brain tumors.
    • The content from the workshop was captured in a white paper.

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  • Cardiawave’s First-In-Human Trial Using Noninvasive Focused Ultrasound for the Treatment of Aortic Stenosis


    Key Points

    • A Research Letter in Circulation details feasibility results from the first 10 patients treated in a clinical trial to soften calcified aortic heart valves.
    • Six participants responded to the treatment, possibly due to a longer duration of therapy.
    • Cardiawave is developing Valvosoft®, an investigational device, not approved for marketing  and not CE-marked, to mechanically soften the hardened valves, improve valve function, and reduce symptoms.

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  • Radiologists Study Contrast Enhancement Patterns from Alzheimer’s Trial


    Key Points

    • A multisite clinical trial is investigating focused ultrasound for patients with Alzheimer's disease.
    • Radiologists at West Virginia University evaluated contrast agent enhancement patterns from three trial participants during and after treatment.
    • Post-treatment images revealed a unique contrast enhancement pattern downstream from targeted sites.

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  • Bilateral Focused Ultrasound is Effective for Relieving Movement Disorder Symptoms


    Key Points

    • A Swiss research team published clinical trial data from using bilateral pallidothalamic tractotomy to treat Parkinson’s symptoms.
    • Two of the ten patients were treated on both sides of the brain in one session.
    • Twelve months after treatment, patients reported measurable symptom relief.

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  • Webinar Report: Human Transcranial Ultrasound Stimulation


    Key Points

    • The University of Toronto’s Dr. Anton Fomenko described human transcranial focused ultrasound stimulation (TUS) research for neuromodulation.
    • The webinar covered designing and implementing experiments using single-transducer TUS neuromodulation and highlighted available commercial systems.

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  • NaviFUS Publishes Initial Glioblastoma Clinical Trial Results

    Key Points

    • Results from the first-in-human pilot trial using the NaviFUS device to open the blood-brain barrier in six patients with recurrent glioblastoma were published in Science Advances.
    • Researchers used a device that combines neuronavigation and a manually operated, frameless focused ultrasound system.

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  • Focused Ultrasound for Prostate Cancer: Data from Two Trials Published


    Key Points

    • Two recent studies investigated focal therapy for low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer.
    • One study reported similar outcomes between focal therapy versus radical prostatectomy after eight years.
    • Another focal ablation trial treated 44 men with intermediate risk disease under MRI guidance.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Fine-Tunes Gene Therapy for Brain Applications


    Key Points

    • Scientists at the University of Virginia explored the effect of varying focused ultrasound energy levels to deliver gene therapy to the brain.
    • The researchers were able to fine tune the focused ultrasound to preferentially deliver genetic material to specific types of brain cells.
    • Various pressure levels enabled the genes to reach cells within and beyond the blood-brain barrier.

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  • Using Focused Ultrasound Neuromodulation to Treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease

    Key Points

    • Scientists sought to determine whether neuromodulation with focused ultrasound could treat inflammatory bowel disease in a preclinical model.
    • When compared with a control group, the therapy resulted in improved stool consistency, reduced bleeding, and healthier colons.

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  • Liver Tumor Clinical Trial Approved to Begin in Europe


    Key Points

    • HistoSonics has obtained regulatory approvals for their #HOPE4LIVER US and #HOPE4LIVER Europe clinical trials.
    • Researchers are studying histotripsy to noninvasively destroy liver tumors.
    • Patient enrollment will likely begin early this year at up to seven sites across Europe and six US sites.

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  • Focused Ultrasound to Deliver Mitochondria


    Key Points

    • A recent review paper by a University of Virginia team addressed mitochondrial transfer for patients with stroke.
    • The researchers suggested focused ultrasound might improve delivery and efficacy of mitochondria to brain tissue.

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  • Case Report: Focused Ultrasound for Osteoid Osteoma


    Key Points

    • A pediatric patient participated in a focused ultrasound clinical trial for a disabling, painful, benign bone tumor.
    • Now, five years post-treatment, she remains free from pain.
    • In November of 2020, focused ultrasound earned FDA HDE approval to treat osteoid osteoma.

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  • CarThera Launches New Glioblastoma Trial in Chicago

    The first patient has been treated in a new phase I/II clinical trialfor patients with recurrent glioblastoma (GBM). Researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago will recruit up to 39 patients to have CarThera’s SonoCloud-9 implanted after surgical removal of the tumor, as it will be used to temporarily open the blood-brain barrier (BBB) prior to the administration of chemotherapy.

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  • Student Profile: Biomedical Illustrator Hang Yu Lin Creates an Animation on Focused Ultrasound and the Blood-Brain Barrier

    Hang Yu Lin headshotA complicated process like using focused ultrasound plus microbubbles to modulate the permeability of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is not easy to describe. Now, with the availability of advanced digital tools and technologies, the biomedical visualization field is allowing talented young artists with an interest in medicine and an understanding of cellular and molecular biology in addition to anatomy to develop new visual communication tools to help scientists graphically share their discoveries.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Improves Delivery of Alzheimer’s Therapy and Promotes Neurogenesis

    A newly published preclinical study – "Clinically Approved IVIg Delivered to the Hippocampus with Focused Ultrasound Promotes Neurogenesis in a Model of Alzheimer’s Disease"– led by Dr. Isabelle Aubert and her team at Sunnybrook Research Institute has demonstrated that using focused ultrasound plus microbubbles to increase the permeability of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) significantly improved the delivery of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) to the brain, which reduced the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease and created measurable neuronal regeneration in the delivery brain area heavily involved in learning and memory.

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  • University of Virginia Recruiting Glioblastoma Patients for Focused Ultrasound Clinical Trial

    A team at the University of Virginia (UVA) has joined a multicenter clinical trial evaluating the safety of using focused ultrasound to enhance the delivery of chemotherapy in patients with glioblastomas (GBM).

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  • First Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Enrolled in Clinical Trial at Columbia University

    Elisa Konofagou, PhD, the Robert and Margaret Hariri Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Radiology at Columbia University, and her research team recently treated the first patient in their clinical trial to open the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

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  • Beta-Amyloid Plaque in Alzheimer’s Disease Decreased in Focused Ultrasound Trial Patients

    β-Amyloid Plaque Reduction in the Hippocampus After Focused Ultrasound-Induced Blood–Brain Barrier Opening in Alzheimer’s Disease

    A collaborative research group from West Virginia University, Vanderbilt University, and Weill Cornell Medical College measured the beta-amyloid plaque changes in six patients with Alzheimer’s disease who underwent multiple sessions of focused ultrasound—based blood brain barrier (BBB) opening.

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  • Focused Ultrasound for Breast Cancer: Nine Clinical Trials Underway

    The focused ultrasound research community is actively pursuing the treatment of various stages of breast cancer in nine ongoing clinical trials worldwide. 

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  • Precise Drug Delivery for Neuromodulation: Swiss Team Develops New Method

    Researchers in Switzerland have developed a novel neuromodulation sequence for aggregating and uncaging drug carriers at a circuit-specific location in the brain.

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  • HistoSonics Initiates First Liver Tumor Clinical Trial in the US

    HOPE4LIVER 3Minnesota-based HistoSonics has received Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to begin its first clinical trial in the US. The study will be called #HOPE4LIVER.

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  • Meeting Report: Breast Cancer Alliance Symposium

    On September 15, 2020, the Focused Ultrasound Foundation helped sponsor the Breast Cancer Alliance’s annual Medical Symposium: Hot Topics in Breast Cancer.

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  • Children’s National Hospital Becomes Foundation’s First Pediatric Center of Excellence

    Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, is the first pediatric medical center to be named a Focused Ultrasound Foundation Center of Excellence. The site becomes our ninth Center of Excellence worldwide.

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  • Meeting Report: 2020 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium

    The IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium (IUS) took place virtually September 6–11, 2020. The international group of more than 1,900 ultrasound experts and researchers watched live lectures and prerecorded abstract presentations, attended interactive poster sessions, and enrolled in a wide variety of virtual webinars and workshops.

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  • First Patients Treated in Focused Ultrasound Endometriosis Trial

    EDAP TMS recently announced that the first two patients with deep invasive endometriosis of the rectosigmoid area have been treated in a Phase 2 clinical trial assessing the safety and efficacy of using their Focal One® high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) device to treat the condition. The trial will take place at five major hospitals in France, with a goal to treat and follow at least 38 female patients for six months.

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  • New Clinical Trial for Focused Ultrasound in Glioblastoma

    The first of six patients has been enrolled in a new trial at Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan to evaluate the feasibility, safety, and preliminary efficacy of focused ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and facilitate the delivery of the chemotherapy drug bevacizumab in patients with recurrent glioblastoma.

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  • New Undergraduate Course on Focused Ultrasound

    A new undergraduate seminar course in the Biomedical Engineering department at the University of Virginia will introduce students to focused ultrasound therapy.

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  • Focused Ultrasound for Parkinson’s Tremor Deemed Cost Effective

    Cost-effectiveness Analysis of MR-guided Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy for Tremor-dominant Parkinson’s Disease

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  • Foundation-Funded Researcher, Natasha Sheybani, Successfully Defends Doctoral Dissertation

    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.

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  • New Dermatology Applications for Focused Ultrasound

    logo toosonixDenmark-based TOOsonix recently announced the publication of two peer-reviewed studies. One paper found the company’s novel device to be successful in treating skin lesions, including cancer; the other announced results for tattoo ink removal in problematic cases. Read on to learn how TOOsonix is able to use focused ultrasound to treat various depths in the skin without thermal injury to the adjacent, non-target tissue.

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  • Meeting Report: EMBC 2020

    The 42nd Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology (EMBC) Society and the 43rd Annual Conference of the Canadian Medical and Biological Engineering Society were held July 20–24, 2020.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Shows Promise for Treating Depression

    Dr. Jin Woo Chang’s research group at Yonsei University College of Medicine collaborated with psychiatrist and neurosurgeon colleagues to publish a new study showing the successful use of focused ultrasound to treat depression.

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  • Watch Now: ISTU Webinar on Sonoporation

    On July 23, the International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU) broadcasted the next installment in its new series of “ISTU On Air’ webinars.

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  • Investigator Profile: Professor José Obeso, MD, PhD

    Neurologist Prof. José Obeso has built a large research and clinical practice centered on using focused ultrasound to halt the progression of Parkinson’s and other brain diseases.

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  • Foundation Scholar Participates in Journal's "Tumor Talk" Webinar

    On Tuesday, July 7, Francesco Prada, MD, neurosurgeon at Fondazione I.R.C.C.S. Istutio Neurologico Carlo Besta and former Foundation scholar and Brain Program Director, took part in the Journal of Neuro-Oncology's (JNO) "Tumor Talk" webinar.

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  • Lizzi Award Winners Launch ISTU Webinar Series

    The International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU) has launched its new webinar series – ISTU On-Air. The monthly webinars are designed to promote knowledge of therapeutic ultrasound and increase discussion among the ISTU community.

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  • Meeting Report: American Association for Cancer Research 2020 Virtual Annual Meetings

    The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) divided its vast content into two virtual sessions for the presentation of its 2020 Annual Meeting. AACR 2020was held online from April 27–28 and June 22–24. The latest discoveries from cancer research included several focused ultrasound e-posters and an educational session presented by Katherine Ferrara, PhD. Despite moving to a virtual platform, AACR successfully continued to highlight the best international basic, translational, and clinical cancer research.

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  • Investigator Profile: Craig Slingluff, MD

    Dr. Craig Slingluff is a University of Virginia Professor of Surgery who is conducting a clinical trial to study the effects of focused ultrasound with or without a cancer immunotherapy drug (pembrolizumab or imiquimod) to treat advanced solid tumors.

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  • Focused Ultrasound and Cancer Immunotherapy

    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.

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  • Immunotherapy Research Overview

    New and ongoing clinical and preclinical research is examining the use of focused ultrasound in initiating an anti-tumor immune response – either alone or in combination with immunotherapies – to treat cancer.

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  • Case Report: Histotripsy-Induced Abscopal Effect in Liver Tumors

    The Foundation thanks Joan Vidal-Jové, MD, PhD, of the Interventional and Surgical Oncology department at the Comprehensive Tumor Center Barcelonain Barcelona, Spain, for providing this case report.

    The Patient

    In November 2013, a 67-year-old male with stage 4 colon cancer underwent surgical resection of a part of his colon containing cancer. During the operation, he was noted to have hepatic metastases. After recovery from his colon surgery, the patient was started on chemotherapy. In 2014 and 2015, he underwent two separate open surgeries to remove liver masses, and chemotherapy was continued. From 2015 to 2018, his cancer was in remission, and he was maintained on adjuvant chemotherapy. In May 2018, during routine follow-up, the patient showed marked progression of his liver tumors in addition to new lung masses. Due to these findings, he was started on a different chemotherapy regimen plus an immunotherapy drug. In July 2018, three of the patient’s liver masses were treated with thermal ablation by ultrasound-guided, high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). He had a partial response to this treatment, but, unfortunately, his disease continued to progress, and he was maintained on the chemotherapy plus immunotherapy regimen.

    Abscopal case study figure1 captionIn April 2019, an MRI of the patient’s abdomen revealed countless liver masses that had increased in number and size since his last evaluation (Figure 1). The patient received an evaluation by the Tumor Board at Comprehensive Tumor Center Barcelona, and his inclusion in a clinical trial – the THERESA study – was approved. The THERESA studyis a first-in-human clinical trial sponsored by HistoSonics, Inc. to establish the safety and efficacy of their histotripsy device to treat liver tumors. The patient was not considered a candidate for other surgical or locoregional therapies.

    On May 13, 2019, the patient underwent histotripsy-mediated ablation of a 1.2 cm x 1 cm lesion in his liver. No adverse events occurred during or after the procedure, including no pain. In the weeks following the procedure, lab tests revealed a significant decrease in the value of the tumor marker CEA (Figure 2), and the patient continued to feel well with no pain. Follow up MRI scans at one, four, and eight weeks showed a decrease in size of the targeted, treated lesion as well as a decrease in size of numerous other, non-treated lesions throughout the liver (Figure 3). Immune assessment (CD3, CD4, CD8, IL6, Complement) was equivocal.

    Abscopal case study figure2 captionFollowing the advice of the patient’s oncologist, a new chemotherapy regime was initiated five weeks after the ablation procedure. After this, both tumor marker levels and the size of the liver lesions continued to decrease.

    In December 2019, there was progression of the liver metastases and appearance of a new tumor in the colon. New treatment options and clinical trials are still being explored. At present, one year after his treatment with histotripsy and evidence of an abscopal effect, the patient has slow progression of his disease.

    Focused Ultrasound for Abdominal Tumors

    Surgical resection is the established first-line treatment for primary and metastatic liver cancer. However, surgical removal with curative intent is only feasible for a minority of patients with liver metastases (10-25 percent) since only a small proportion of patients have tumors that are entirely resectable at presentation.1 Despite the survival advantage of hepatic resection on colorectal cancer liver metastases, relapse is common following curative resection.2 In addition, surgery is an invasive procedure associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality.3

    Abscopal case study figure3 captionAblation techniques are promising alternatives for those patients who are not eligible for surgical resection or who have failed other therapies. Current ablation methods include non-thermal ablation methods (e.g., percutaneous ethanol injection [PEI] and irreversible electroporation [IRE]) and thermal modalities (e.g., radiofrequency ablation [RFA, microwave ablation [MWA], and HIFU.)4

    Despite the efficacy of some of these local thermal ablation modalities, significant limitations exist due to their mode of action (thermal tissue destruction). Thermal ablation is inconsistent in tissue with non-uniform heat dissipation patterns, which is common in liver tumors.5 It often results in incomplete tumor necrosis in tissue that is located near major vessels.6, 7 Consequently, the shape and the size of the ablation zone may be unpredictable, and the efficacy of thermal ablation may be restricted.8 In addition, thermal ablation methods are often unsuitable for treating tumors larger than three centimeters due to excessive treatment time and practical ultrasound probe sizes.9-11 Most complications associated with RFA and MWA are consequences related to thermal injury.12 Another limitation of these methods is the lack of imaging feedback during treatment. Thus, CT or MRI evaluates the effect of ablation treatment after the application of thermal treatment while no real-time imaging provides monitoring during treatment.13

    HIFU is a noninvasive, image-guided, thermal ablation method. Unlike percutaneous thermal modalities, HIFU is completely extracorporeal and lacks the risks of bleeding and tumor seeding with the direct puncture of tumors. HIFU can improve upon other thermal ablation modalities due to its noninvasiveness, real-time feedback, and the ability to scan the focal zone over a large volume.13 As with the other thermal-based methods, HIFU is limited by the heat-sink effect, resulting in reduced efficacy in ablating tissue near major vessels and by extended treatment time for larger liver volumes.13 Another major challenge in the noninvasive treatment of liver tumors using HIFU is rib obstruction, which may result in secondary hot spots near the treatment main focal zone, inducing loss of therapeutic precision and collateral damage.14 Moreover, because of the high ultrasound absorption coefficient at the bone-tissue interface, overheating of ribs and surrounding tissue often results in unwanted tissue damage. Skin burns and subcostal edema have been reported with HIFU ablation cases.15, 16

    Therefore, developing new strategies in which a liver tumor can be ablated noninvasively and avoiding thermal-related collateral damage and inefficacy would be a major clinical advancement. To address this unmet clinical need, cavitation-based, ultrasound-guided treatment (histotripsy) is a promising option to destroy liver tumors and overcome the limitations of currently available ablation modalities.

    Histotripsy is a treatment technology that mechanically destroys targeted tissue through the precise targeting of acoustic cavitation.17-19 The ablation system is an image-guided device designed to deliver noninvasive, non-thermal histotripsy for local treatment that has the potential to overcome many limitations of other focal liver tumor treatment options.

    The Histotripsy Group in the Biomedical Engineering Department at University of Michigan invented and pioneered the development of focused ultrasound histotripsy more than 12 years ago. Starting with their earliest work with the use of microbubbles to cause tissue damage, this group developed histotripsy into a highly controlled and predictable tool to remove unwanted tissue with microscopic precision. In 2010, HistoSonics, Inc. entered into a worldwide exclusive license with the University of Michigan for exclusive rights to the entire portfolio of histotripsy patents and patent applications.

    Favorable characteristics of histotripsy treatment method include:

    • No insertion of probes or needle electrodes required
    • Ultrasound imaging feedback for pre-operative planning and real-time visualization of target tumor and image-guided tissue destruction
    • Prevents damage to adjacent structures
    • Overcomes rib obstruction
    • Precise targeting
    • Minimal scarring

    An additional potential benefit of histotripsy may be as immunogenic ablation20 if it can be used to stimulate tumor-specific immune responses capable of magnifying the impact of checkpoint inhibition immunotherapy. The characteristics of this cavitation-based ablation likely allow cytokines and metabolites – not destroyed in the tumor micro-environment – to become highly immunogenic and contribute to the abscopal effect, where shrinkage of untargeted tumors occurs secondary to an immune response.

    The abscopal – or “off target” – effect was first described in patients who were receiving radiation therapy that were noted to have regression of tumors that were in a non-irradiated zone. It describes the ability of localized radiation to initiate an antitumor response that kills cancer cells distant to the primary target. Similar to radiation, focused ultrasound has been shown to produce an abscopal effect in both preclinical and human cancers. When combined with immunotherapy, the abscopal effect could produce a durable treatment response to control or eradicate metastatic cancer.

    Conclusion and Future Goals

    This case report shows clear evidence of an immunologic relationship between histotripsy ablation and the abscopal effect. A patient with progressive and extensive metastatic disease with a short overall survival prognosis had noticeable shrinkage of non-targeted metastases and is still alive and considering new clinical trial options one year after the histotripsy procedure.

    In addition, this report highlights the differences between two focused ultrasound modalities. Thermal US guided HIFU was performed previously and obtained a substantial volume ablation but no immune effects. Less volume ablation with histotripsy generated a noticeable abscopal effect, and this data will influence future research assumptions.

    Histotripsy is a disruptive technology. The non-thermal and noninvasive characteristics of histotripsy offer patients the potential for a tumor treatment with fewer clinical complications and adverse events than currently available ablation methods and surgical procedures. The safety of histotripsy has been demonstrated through rigorous testing including benchtop and both acute and chronic disease preclinical studies. Future clinical trials with the objectives to evaluate technical performance, including acute technical success, while collecting safety-related data are forthcoming. In addition, further clinical trials should continue to explore histotripsy-mediated immune effects in detail.

    The THERESA Study used an investigative histotripsy device that is not yet commercially available. The THERESA Study is currently ongoing; therefore, data is not considered final.

    References

    1. Wicherts DA, de Haas RJ, Adam R. Bringing unresectable liver disease to resection with curative intent. European journal of surgical oncology: the journal of the European Society of Surgical Oncology and the British Association of Surgical Oncology. 2007;33 Suppl 2:S42-51. Epub 2007/11/06.
    2. Zakaria S, Donohue JH, Que FG, Farnell MB, Schleck CD, Ilstrup DM, et al. Hepatic resection for colorectal metastases: value for risk scoring systems? Annals of surgery. 2007;246(2):183-91. Epub 2007/08/02.
    3. Livraghi T, Makisalo H, Line PD. Treatment options in hepatocellular carcinoma today. Scandinavian journal of surgery: SJS: official organ for the Finnish Surgical Society and the Scandinavian Surgical Society. 2011;100(1):22-9. Epub 2011/04/13.
    4. Bruix J, Sherman M. Management of hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatology. 2005;42(5):1208-36. Epub 2005/10/27.
    5. Livraghi T, Solbiati L, Meloni MF, Gazelle GS, Halpern EF, Goldberg SN. Treatment of focal liver tumors with percutaneous radio-frequency ablation: complications encountered in a multicenter study. Radiology. 2003;226(2):441-51. Epub 2003/02/04.
    6. Aschoff AJ, Merkle EM, Wong V, Zhang Q, Mendez MM, Duerk JL, et al. How does alteration of hepatic blood flow affect liver perfusion and radiofrequency-induced thermal lesion size in rabbit liver? Journal of magnetic resonance imaging: JMRI. 2001;13(1):57-63. Epub 2001/02/13.
    7. Kudo M. Radiofrequency ablation for hepatocellular carcinoma: updated review in 2010. Oncology. 2010;78 Suppl 1:113-24. Epub 2010/07/17.
    8. Mulier S, Ni Y, Jamart J, Ruers T, Marchal G, Michel L. Local recurrence after hepatic radiofrequency coagulation: multivariate meta-analysis and review of contributing factors. Annals of surgery. 2005;242(2):158-71. Epub 2005/07/26.
    9. Curley SA. Radiofrequency ablation of malignant liver tumors. The oncologist. 2001;6(1):14-23. Epub 2001/02/13.
    10. Lu DS, Raman SS, Limanond P, Aziz D, Economou J, Busuttil R, et al. Influence of large peritumoral vessels on outcome of radiofrequency ablation of liver tumors. Journal of vascular and interventional radiology: JVIR. 2003;14(10):1267-74. Epub 2003/10/11.
    11. Marrero JA, Pelletier S. Hepatocellular carcinoma. Clinics in liver disease. 2006;10(2):339-51, ix. Epub 2006/09/15.
    12. Lahat E, Eshkenazy R, Zendel A, Zakai BB, Maor M, Dreznik Y, et al. Complications after percutaneous ablation of liver tumors: a systematic review. Hepatobiliary surgery and nutrition. 2014;3(5):317-23. Epub 2014/11/14.
    13. Vlaisavljevich E, Kim Y, Allen S, Owens G, Pelletier S, Cain C, et al. Image-guided non-invasive ultrasound liver ablation using histotripsy: feasibility study in an in vivo porcine model. Ultrasound in medicine & biology. 2013;39(8):1398-409. Epub 2013/05/21.
    14. Bobkova S, Gavrilov L, Khokhlova V, Shaw A, Hand J. Focusing of high-intensity ultrasound through the rib cage using a therapeutic random phased array. Ultrasound in medicine & biology. 2010;36(6):888-906. Epub 2010/06/01.
    15. Jung SE, Cho SH, Jang JH, Han JY. High-intensity focused ultrasound ablation in hepatic and pancreatic cancer: complications. Abdominal imaging. 2011;36(2):185-95. Epub 2010/06/01.
    16. Wu F, Wang ZB, Chen WZ, Wang W, Gui Y, Zhang M, et al. Extracorporeal high intensity focused ultrasound ablation in the treatment of 1038 patients with solid carcinomas in China: an overview. Ultrasonics sonochemistry. 2004;11(3-4):149-54. Epub 2004/04/15.
    17. Parsons JE, Cain CA, Abrams GD, Fowlkes JB. Pulsed cavitational ultrasound therapy for controlled tissue homogenization. Ultrasound in medicine & biology. 2006;32(1):115-29. Epub 2005/12/21.
    18. Roberts WW, Hall TL, Ives K, Wolf JS, Jr., Fowlkes JB, Cain CA. Pulsed cavitational ultrasound: a noninvasive technology for controlled tissue ablation (histotripsy) in the rabbit kidney. The Journal of urology. 2006;175(2):734-8. Epub 2006/01/13.
    19. Xu Z, Ludomirsky A, Eun LY, Hall TL, Tran BC, Fowlkes JB, et al. Controlled ultrasound tissue erosion. IEEE transactions on ultrasonics, ferroelectrics, and frequency control. 2004;51(6):726-36. Epub 2004/07/13.
    20. Shibin Qu, Tejaswi Worlikar, Amy E Felsted, Anutosh Ganguly, Megan V Beems, Ryan Hubbard, et al. Non-thermal histotripsy tumor ablation promotes abscopal immune responses that enhance cancer immunotherapy. J Immunother Cancer 2020; 8:e000200. doi:10.1136/ jitc-2019-000200

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  • Call for Comments: Guidelines for Immune Analysis During Focused Ultrasound Research

    The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is asking members of the research community with experience in immunology to comment on our draft assessment guidelines by August 1, 2020.

    Focused ultrasound is an early-stage, noninvasive therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the lives of patients with cancer by providing either an alternative or complement to existing therapies. A growing body of research has demonstrated that focused ultrasound can initiate a powerful anti-tumor immune response that complements other immunotherapies, such as checkpoint inhibitors. This combination approach has the potential to enhance the effectiveness and reduce the side effects of current immunotherapy treatments. Currently, the first clinical trials pairing focused ultrasound with immunotherapy drugs are underway, investigating this combination approach in patients with advanced metastatic cancers.

    In July 2019, the Foundation partnered with the Cancer Research Institute to host a Focused Ultrasound and Cancer Immunotherapy Workshop. That meeting culminated in a clear roadmap of important projects and next steps for the field. The group determined that the highest priority was the need to develop guidelines for immune analysis during focused ultrasound studies, including protocols for optimal collection and storage of tissue samples and prioritized immune assays. As the field continues to grow, it is critical that all studies use the same methods of analysis whenever possible so results can be compared as researchers examine the effects of varying drug combinations in multiple tumor models.

    In recent months, the Foundation has drafted guidelines – for preclinical and clinical studies – with the input of our Cancer Immunotherapy Scientific Advisory Board and several other researchers in this field. We are pleased to invite public comment on these documents.

    The proposed guidelines include suggestions for analysis decision trees and assays. We emphasize the need to run a few, very pointed assays/analyses first, before storing remaining samples for later analysis.

    We encourage the community to review these preclinical and clinical guidelines and submit comments until August 1, 2020.

    See “Guidelines for Immune Analysis Following FUS Treatment – Preclinical” >

    See “Guidelines for Immune Analysis Following FUS Treatment – Clinical” >

    Submit your Comments >

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  • Focused Ultrasound—Assisted Liquid Biopsy in the Brain

    Focused Ultrasound for Safe and Effective Release of Brain Tumor Biomarkers into the Peripheral Circulation

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  • Apply Now: Lockhart Memorial Prize for Cancer Research

    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 from cholangiocarcinoma, a particularly virulent cancer affecting the biliary system of the liver and gallbladder. The Lockhart 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.

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  • Call for Comments: Guidelines for Focused Ultrasound Treatment Reporting

    Focused ultrasound is a versatile technology that can interact with tissue in diverse ways to produce more than 18 different bioeffects. This versatility makes focused ultrasound a potential treatment for more than 130 medical conditions. However, without clear standardization of treatment reporting and methodologies for measuring and describing key parameters for preclinical and clinical investigations, these diverse “modes” of focused ultrasound can also present a unique barrier to widespread clinical translation.

    A general challenge often discussed at the Foundation’s workshops and symposia is the difficulty comparing treatment parameters from one focused ultrasound device to another. Furthermore, with no consistent standards for measurements and reporting, it can be impossible to reproduce results across multiple laboratories. The consensus view has identified the need for a set of guidelines to recommend key parameters to report and measurement methodologies to use; the aim would be for the entire focused ultrasound community to begin using these guidelines for future research.

    In recent months, the Focused Ultrasound Foundation has drafted guidelines, with the input of several focused ultrasound scientific and technical experts, and we are pleased to invite public comment on a draft of this document.

    The guidelines outlined in this document aim to fulfill three main objectives:
    • To ensure consistency in the reporting of focused ultrasound treatment parameters, which will enable cross-comparison of studies performed by different groups and/or with different systems;
    • To provide guidelines for assessing and reporting bioeffects associated with different focused ultrasound treatment regimens, which is necessary for cross-comparison of studies and validation of therapeutic bioeffects;
    • To provide guidelines for testing focused ultrasound systems and protocols.
    The guidelines are divided into five sections:
    1. Overall recommendations for important parameters to report;
    2. Detailed methodologies for measuring/simulating focused ultrasound system and field parameters;
    3. Detailed methodologies to assess bioeffects;
    4. Daily Quality Assurance (DQA) procedures for FUS equipment; and
    5. Relevant standards and references.

    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.

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  • Meeting Report: ASCO 2020

    The scientific program for the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)was held virtually from May 29–31, 2020.

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  • Meeting Report: Frontiers of Immunotherapy

    The New York Academy of Sciences held “Frontiers in Cancer Immunotherapy 2020” as an online symposium May 11–12, 2020.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Plus Fluorescein Inhibits Brain Tumor Growth

    Fluorescein‑Mediated Sonodynamic Therapy in a Rat Glioma Model

    FUF-SonodynamicTherapy-FINALSonodynamic therapy (SDT) is a novel idea for treating cancer. SDT uses targeted, low-intensity focused ultrasound energy to activate a chemical agent that is usually nontoxic. This nontoxic chemical agent is called a “sonosensitizer.” Although the exact mechanism is still being studied, when the ultrasound activates the sonosensitizer, the resulting biological reaction (e.g., generating a reactive oxygen species) creates an environment that negatively impacts the targeted tumor cells.

    In this study, researchers from the University of Virginia, Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, and the Focused Ultrasound Foundation sought to investigate whether fluorescein (FL) might be an effective sensitizer for SDT to treat cerebral high-grade glioma, a deadly tumor. FL is a safe, fluorescent xanthene dye that is used during brain tumor surgery to highlight tumoral tissue, as it accumulates specifically within the tumoral environment and washes out of healthy tissues.

    In a rat glioma model, the research team compared whether FL was effective for SDT under three different levels of acoustic energy deposition. FL was highly tumor specific, and they found that the SDT treatment significantly inhibited the growth of ectopic gliomas across all three focused ultrasound exposure conditions compared to focused ultrasound or FL alone: the results were still non conclusive for cell death, although the data favor this. Could this treatment be effective in an intracranial glioma model or in human gliomas?

    See the Journal of Neuro-Oncology >

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  • Focused Ultrasound Neuromodulation for Epilepsy

    Non-invasive Ultrasonic Neuromodulation of Neuronal Excitability for Treatment of Epilepsy

    A focused ultrasound neuromodulation study reported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences was selected as the cover story for the journal Theranostics.

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  • CarThera Treats First Patient in New Brain Cancer Clinical Trial

    CarThera, a French ultrasound company, has announced the start of a new clinical trial in France. The “SoniMel” study has enrolled and treated its first patient diagnosed with brain metastases from a primary melanoma.

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  • Research Site Profile: Seoul National University Hospital

    The Core Hub for Medical Research of UltraSound (CHORUS) is a focused ultrasound research facility located within the Department of Radiology at Seoul National University Hospital in Korea. The group’s incredibly wide breadth of applications combined with their multifaceted internal and external collaborations has created a highly productive environment for clinical and preclinical research. Importantly, CHORUS scientists recently discovered a potential mechanism for how focused ultrasound treatment clears amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s diseaseWe interviewed Jae Young Lee, MD, PhD, to learn more about one of Seoul’s many impressive focused ultrasound centers.

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  • Focused Ultrasound for Benign Pediatric Brain Tumors: A Case Report

    The Patient

    A 15-year-old female diagnosed with a benign brain tumor called a hypothalamic hamartoma (HH) presented to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, Florida, in 2019.

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  • Focused Ultrasound and Microbubbles Open the Blood–Spinal Cord Barrier (BSCB)

    Enhanced Detection of Bubble Emissions Through the Intact Spine for Monitoring Ultrasound-Mediated Blood-Spinal Cord Barrier Opening

    Stock spine illustrationA team at Sunnybrook Research Institute, led by Meaghan O'Reilly, PhD, has begun to use focused ultrasound plus microbubbles to open the blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB). The group recently discovered that microbubble emissions from short burst, phase keying (SBPK) focused ultrasound applications, which were previously studied to mitigate standing waves in the vertebral canal, are also effective for opening the BSCB. The preclinical study used a “pulse inversion” technique that, when combined with SBPK focused ultrasound, produced a clinically relevant pulse scheme. Could noninvasively opening the BSCB lead to novel drug delivery techniques? See IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering >

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