Research News

  • U.S. Sites will Conduct Clinical Trial of Profound Medical's New MR-guided Thermal Ultrasound Device for Prostate Cancer

    As many as 30 patients with early stage prostate cancer could be treated with a new, minimally-invasive device in a clinical trial expected to begin at two U.S. hospitals later this year, says Paul Chipperton, CEO of Profound Medical, Inc. (PMI).

    The trial will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the company's innovative MR-guided thermal ultrasound device, which Chipperton says has the potential to treat patients three to six times faster with greater accuracy and fewer side effects than existing options. Click here to view video and read full report.

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  • Reminder: Nanoporation School Begins March 27 in Israel

    A training program that seeks to expedite the development of targeted cancer therapies using nanoporation and MR-guided focused ultrasound has been scheduled for March 27 through April 1, 2011 in Haifa, Israel.

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  • Leading Women's Health Expert Added to Fibroid Relief Charlottesville Event Panel

    Fibroid Relief, the Foundation’s Patient Initiative, is gearing up for a successful Fibroid Relief At Last event in Charlottesville scheduled for next Thursday, February 3 at the historic Jefferson Theater on the Downtown Mall.  Dr. Joann Pinkerton, highly regarded Medical Director of UVA’s Midlife Health Center, was just added to the impressive panel of experts slated for the event.   Dr. Pinkerton is a leading expert in perimenopause and menopause and is frequently invited to speak throughout the country on abnormal uterine bleeding.

    For additional information on the event, visit

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  • Conference Provides Collaboration Opportunities for Those Pursuing Effective Therapies for Patients

    Partnering for Cures Conference Provides Collaboration Opportunities for Those Pursuing Effective Therapies for Patients Faster

    FasterCures, the Washington, DC-based center of the Milken Institute, convened the second annual Partnering for Cures, December 14-15, 2010 to advance the goal of bringing effective therapies to patients faster.  Partnering for Cures brought together all the sectors engaged in the research enterprise to facilitate the strategic collaborations needed to turn scientific discoveries into accessible therapies.

    For the second year, a representative of the Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation attended this dynamic meeting.  More than 800 people were in attendance, representing innovators, investors, non-profit leaders, government agencies and decision- makers.  It was a wonderful opportunity to share MRgFUS with a group so dedicated to accelerating medical solutions for deadly and debilitating diseases.  While an enormous amount of progress is being made in finding effective MRgFUS therapies for cancer, Essential Tremor, Parkinson’s disease and a variety of other conditions, many leaders dedicated to finding cures for these same diseases are unaware of the promise MRgFUS has in providing positive outcomes.  They are eager and ready to learn.  Of course, there was much discussion about how the FDA and NIH can and is changing to quicken the advancement and delivery of new therapies and treatments.  The quality of the speaker and relevance of the topics discussed speak volumes.  To read more, visit the symposium website at


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  • UCLA Radiology Announces Nelly Tan's FUSF Research Award

    UCLA Radiology has announced that Dr. Nelly Tan in Abdominal Imaging is awarded $100,000 from FUS Foundation to support her roles in advancing MRgFUS at UCLA. Click here to read full report.


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  • NCI Funding Available for FUS-related Research

    Keyvan Farahani, Ph.D., of the Cancer Imaging Program at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports that funding is available through four research initiatives in image-guided cancer interventions. For further information email Dr. Farahani at .

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  • MR-guided Focused Ultrasound Could Have “Huge Impact” on Pancreatic Cancer Drug Delivery

    The hardest part of his job, says Joo Ha Hwang, M.D., Ph.D., is informing patients that they have pancreatic cancer.

    Hwang, a leading researcher in focused ultrasound and gastroenterologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, is troubled by the lack of effective treatments for this deadly disease. “For decades, we’ve been treating pancreatic cancer and coming up with one new drug regimen after another. Yet, nothing has made a dent in improving patient survival," he notes.

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  • Sound Maps of the Human Skull Will Enable New, Noninvasive Treatments of Brain Disorders

    Developing new treatments for brain disorders poses many challenges for focused ultrasound researchers. While the blood brain barrier is a key obstacle for those developing drug delivery therapies, the skull poses significant difficulties for researchers designing sound-based treatments.

    In a Foundation-sponsored project, Thilo Hoelscher, M.D., a neurologist and professor of Neuroscience and Radiology at the University of California, San Diego, is developing a database that will help clinicians individualize the intensity of sound waves for different types of skulls.

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  • Researcher Profile: Leading Drug Delivery Investigator, Richard J. Price, Ph.D., Becomes Research Director of UVA Focused Ultrasound Center

    For the past decade, Richard J. Price, Ph.D., a biomedical engineer and associate professor at the University of Virginia, has conducted pioneering research in ultrasound targeted therapeutics. His international reputation and accomplishments make him an ideal fit for his new job as Research Director at the UVA’s Focused Ultrasound Center.

    While much of Price’s research has focused on nanoparticles and microbubbles, he is also a widely recognized authority on the mechanisms of cardiovascular blood vessel growth. Currently, he divides his time between both research interests.

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  • RSNA Hot Topics Session: IGDD

    When working in a field as expansive and exciting as Focused Ultrasound-mediated Targeted Drug Delivery, it's sometimes easy to lose sight of all the other compelling areas of Image Guided Drug Delivery (IGDD) that are equally promising on the path to better cancer care.  The presentations at the "Hot Topics" Session on IGDD at on November 30th, 2010 at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Meeting were a small but solid glimpse into technologies that - along with FUS-TDD - hold great promise for improved efficacy and patient outcomes. 

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  • RSNA Hot Topics Session: HIFU

    During the recent Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Meeting, the "Hot Topics" Session on HIFU boasted well over 100 attendees despite the early Monday morning time-slot on November 29th, 2010.  

    Presenters covered MR-guided focused ultrasound for the treatment of breast cancer, pain palliation of bone metastasis, and uterine fibroids.  

    As the objective of the session was to provide an overview of the technology and clinical applications currently in practice or on the horizon, no new data was presented from the 2nd International Symposium on MR-guided Focused Ultrasound.  Yet for those unfamilar with the technology, the presentations provided a thorough introduction and overview - which we very much hope served as the beginning of attendees' exposure and interest in the field. 

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  • Comparative effectiveness research conference details

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) are co-sponsoring a free conference on Methodological Challenges in Comparative Effectiveness Research.

    “Comparative effectiveness research (CER) is increasingly important to the advancement of MR-guided focused ultrasound,” says Joy Polefrone, Ph.D., director of the Foundation’s FUS-Targeted Drug Delivery initiative. CER compares existing treatment options to determine which is most effective in different types of patients and circumstances. 

    “Treatments for uterine fibroids – the first FDA-approved indication for MR-guided focused ultrasound – are already being addressed by an AHRQ stakeholder group. The group has developed protocol recommendations to address concerns about these treatments,” Polefrone notes. “Future applications of MR-guided focused ultrasound will undergo CER assessment in the U.S., making it important to understand this process and its impact on clinical use.”

    Scheduled for December 2-3, the conference will be held at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.  It will address a variety of important questions about comparative effectiveness research that face U.S. researchers, care providers, health systems, and patients. In particular, the conference will explore a number of case studies challenging the kinds of research, methods and analyses that should be used to address limitations in current evidence for interventions and tests being examined by decision-making bodies


    Topics include:

    • Comparative effectiveness of surgical and radiotherapy treatments for prostate cancer: Best methods for studying multilevel heterogeneous effects.
    • Comparative effectiveness of medical and surgical treatments for stable ischemic heart disease within subgroups of patients and in the face of rapidly evolving treatments.
    • Comparative effectiveness and costs of imaging strategies for diagnosing and monitoring patients with cancer.
    • Evaluation of two high-profile comparative drug safety cases: Aprotinin and Rosiglitazone.
    • Challenges of designing a “Learning Healthcare Systems” for Comparative Effectiveness Research. 


    In addition to these case-based discussions, consumers, economists, methodologists, policymakers and statisticians will present two additional sessions:

    • Methods for Addressing Confounding in Observational Studies.
    • Value of Information Techniques for Setting Research Priorities.


    The conference is free and requires advance registration.To register and for more information, visit:

    Written by Ellen C., McKenna

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  • RSNA Hot Topic Sessions

    1.      High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound: Myth or Reality?(Monday, November 29, 7:15-8:15 a.m.)  

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  • Christopher Cheng Shares His Thoughts on the 2nd International Symposium

    "Honestly this is one of the most amazing meetings I've attended" states Christopher Cheng, Singapore General Hospital. "There are a lot of networks being set up...You can hear accents from France, Europe, North America, Asia and people bring the diversities of their cultural and different backgrounds to the meeting. This is a prime example of how it should be done."

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  • Suzanne LeBlang on the 2nd International Symposium

    Suzanne LeBlang, M.D. of University MRI in Boca Raton, FL commented, "It's amazing to see how the field has grown and how many young investigators are now getting interested in MR-guided focused ultrasound to bring it to the next level."

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  • Short Interview with Young Investigator Allison Payne

    "The poster session in particular had really good attendance and a lot of interest from participants, which really helps people early in their career like myself," noted Allison Payne, Ph.D., a Young Investigator Award recipient from the University of Utah

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  • Thilo Hoelscher on the 2nd International Symposium on MR-guided Focused Ultrasound

     Thilo Hoelscher, M.D., of the University of California, San Diego, shared some of this thoughts on the 2nd International Symposium on MR-guided Focused Ultrasound. Hoelscher noted, “Meetings like this are the meetings we need to change ideas and discuss with colleagues how we should approach different applications.”

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  • Lawrence Crum's Impression of the 2nd International Symposium on MR-guided Focused Ultrasound

    Lawrence Crum, Ph.D., of the University of Washington shares some of this thoughts on the 2nd Internaltional Symposium on MR-guided Focused Ultrasound. According to Dr. Crum the Symposium offered a "tremendous array of professionals, clinicians, in a technology that's going to change the way we do medicine in the United States."

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  • Mayo Clinic Survey Set for Symposium

    Symposium attendees involved in MR-guided focused ultrasound treatments for uterine fibroids will have an opportunity to participate in an important Mayo Clinic study.

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  • Jaslok Hospital is First Site in India to Offer MR-guided Focused Ultrasound Treatments, Research and Clinical Trials

    On the eve of its 37th anniversary,  Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre in Mumbai announced in early July  that it was launching the era of non-invasive surgery in India by opening the country’s first MR-guided focused ultrasound facility.

    Dr. Shrinivas Desai, the hospital’s Director of Imaging and Interventional Radiology, noted the pioneering nature of the center.

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  • Reminder: Abstract Submissions Deadline is August 16 for 2nd International Symposium on MR-guided Focused Ultrasound

    Scientists and clinicians who are researching uses of MR-guided focused ultrasound are encouraged to submit abstracts for the upcoming 2nd International Symposium on MR-guided Focused Ultrasound.  The deadline for abstract submissions is Monday, August 16.

    Scheduled for October 17-20 in the Washington, D.C. area, this landmark event will spotlight leading edge preclinical, translational and clinical research related to one of today’s most promising and innovative therapeutic technologies. The symposium will offer a multifaceted exploration of this emerging field and feature plenary sessions, panel discussions, poster presentations and technical exhibits.

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  • Leading Experts Join FUS-TDD Core Stakeholder’s Group

    The Foundation’s Focused Ultrasound-mediated Targeted Drug Delivery Program (FUS-TDD) has announced the formation of a Core Stakeholders Group that includes many of today’s leading researchers and experts:

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  • Utah Researcher Developing FUS Treatments for Breast and Liver Cancer

    Funded project will develop temperature measuring techniques for treating breast and liver cancer withMR-guided focused ultrasound

    Nick Todd, Ph.D., and his colleagues at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and the University of Geneva in Switzerland thrive on tackling difficult technical problems. Currently, they are developing MR temperature measuring techniques with the aim of overcoming the unique challenges of imaging the breast. Ultimately, their goal is to develop new, site-specific MR-guided focused ultrasound treatments for breast and liver cancer.

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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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  • Satellite Symposium

    I recently participated in an FDA-sponsored satellite symposium related to Focused Ultrasound-mediated Targeted Drug Delivery (FUS-TDD).  The symposium was the afternoon following the close of the 2010 Accelerating Anticancer Agent Development and Validation Workshop, a 3-day post-graduate workshop for clinical and translational investigators interested in designing effective strategies to develop new anticancer agents. 

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  • Preliminary Program and Speakers Announced for 2nd International Symposium on MR-guided Focused Ultrasound

    Excitement is building for the 2nd International Symposium on MR-guided Focused Ultrasound, which has just announced that its roster of speakers, moderators and discussion leaders will include many internationally-known thought leaders, clinicians and researchers. Please see below for details.

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  • Treating Stroke with MR-guided Focused Ultrasound

    Late last week, Israeli blogger Mouli Cohen wrote about the use of MR-guided focused ultrasound to treat stroke (see his blog here).

    Cohen wrote about the work being done by Thilo Hoelscher M.D. at the University of California at San Diego. Dr. Hoelscher is conducting FUS Foundation-funded research using InSightec's high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) system, the ExAblate.

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  • Zürich Transcranial FUS Results Presented at Annual Meeting

    Professor Daniel Jeanmonod faced a packed meeting room at the Philadelphia convention Center on May 3 when he presented his much-anticipated results treating 12 patients in Zürich using transcranial MR-guided focused ultrasound (TcFUS). Many neurosurgeons in the audience at the Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery Session of the 2010 annual meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons were there mainly for his presentation.

    He reported on 18 ablative lesions performed in 12 patients using transcranial central lateral thalamotomy with the Exablate 4000 (Insightec Ltd, Haifa). All patients suffered from chronic therapy-resistant neuropathic pain, including some who had failed prior radiofrequency lesioning.   Real-time MR image monitoring (thermometry) was performed in awake patients, allowing for on-line control of targeting parameters, precision and safety.

    His work confirmed the high level of precision in lesion placement (< 1.0 mm) that had been previously reported (Martin E. et al., Annals of Neurology 66(6):858-861, 2009).  Skull heating was minimal.

    Peri-lesional edema appeared on MRI within 48 hours, but was resolved at the time of the 1-month MRI.

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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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  • Harvard’s Seung-Schik Yoo Discusses Research in FUS-mediated Neuromodulation

    Applications may include epilepsy, stroke, movement disorders, and depression

    Seung-Schik Yoo, Ph.D., MBA, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, is in search of a non-invasive method to assess region-specific brain functions and to modify and control aberrant brain activities. His recent neuromodulation research indicates that MR-guided focused ultrasound may provide the capabilities he seeks.

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  • Researcher at UVA FUS Center of Excellence Receives Prestigious NREF Grant

    Deadly brain hemorrhages are the subject of focused ultrasound research being performed by Stephen Monteith, M.D., a senior neurosurgery resident at the University of Virginia.

    Monteith is one of nine grant recipients recently announced by the Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation (NREF) of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS). The prestigious NREF research fellowships provide training for neurosurgeons who are preparing for academic careers as clinician investigators.

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  • FUS Foundation’s Brain Program is Off to a Strong Start

    Starting with its first thought-leaders’ meeting in March 2009, the FUS Foundation’s Brain Program has rapidly evolved into an international, multi-stakeholder initiative that is sponsoring research vital to the rapid advancement of MR-guided focused ultrasound.

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  • On-line Abstract Submission and Registration Will Open May 15 for 2nd International Symposium on MR-guided FUS

    Researchers are invited to submit oral and poster presentation abstracts for the 2nd International Symposium on MR-guided Focused Ultrasound. The online submission process, administered by SPLTrak, will open on May 15 and close on August 16, 2010.

    Abstracts covering late breaking research will be accepted from September 1 through 15, but will not be listed in the symposium program.

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  • Special Preview: MR-guided Focused Ultrasound Lectures, Poster Sessions at International Symposium on Therapeutic Ultrasound Meeting

    For the first time in its ten-year history, the International Symposium on Therapeutic Ultrasound will feature special sessions devoted to the latest developments in MR-guided focused ultrasound. The roster of speakers and poster presenters includes researchers from leading institutions around the world, making ISTU 2010 a meeting that will have a powerful impact on the emerging field of MR-guided focused ultrasound.

    Below is a preliminary list of MR-guided FUS presenters. The complete ISTU 2010 scientific program can be found at:

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  • Nathan McDannold is Guest Speaker at UVA Center of Excellence

    Leading focused ultrasound researcher Nathan McDannold, PhD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, lectured and met with researchers and clinicians at the FUS Center of Excellence at the University of Virginia on March 24.

    McDannold’s lecture, part of a speaker’s series funded by the FUS Foundation, was on “MRI-guided focused ultrasound for noninvasive ablation and targeted drug delivery.” He provided an overview of key research, technology and the major issues involved in developing MR-guided FUS applications for the brain and various cancers.

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  • Mayo Study Finds Women are Satisfied with MR-guided Focused Ultrasound Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

    A year after their procedures at the Mayo Clinic, 97 percent of the women who had MR-guided FUS treatments for uterine fibroids said their symptoms had improved. Ninety percent considered their improvement either “considerable” or “excellent.”

    So reported Gina Hesley, M.D., an interventional radiologist at Mayo, who is studying the long-term effectiveness of MR-guided FUS treatments for uterine fibroids. She presented her findings at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s 35th Annual Scientific Meeting in Tampa.

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  • UK Researchers Receive $1.9 Million Grant to Develop Targeted Cancer Treatment Using Heat-sensitive Nanoparticles and MR-guided FUS

    The UK’s leading research funding agency, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, has awarded a £1.25 – about $1.9 million – grant to researchers at Imperial College and King’s College in London to develop a localized cancer treatment using three key technologies: heat-sensitive nanoparticles, magnetic resonance imaging and MR-guided focused ultrasound.

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  • On the Scene of the 2010 Brain Workshop - Day Two

    Collaboration is a key aspect of Day 2 of the Brain Workshop. Several attendees comment that it is truly beneficial to have scientists and clinicians meeting together and discussing technical issues, both in small work group and in general sessions.

    Presentations also underscore the value of collaboration. Several speakers present research that builds upon the work of other workshop participants. There is talk of having researchers and clinicians travel among various MR-guided focused ultrasound sites. This practice would promote cross-training and knowledge of different research projects and treatments under development.

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  • On the Scene of the 2010 Brain Workshop - The Last Day

    Today is closing day for the Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation's 2010 Brain Workshop. In his wrap-up remarks, Foundation CEO Neal Kassell, MD, observes, "This workshop accomplished everything we set out to do."

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  • On the Scene of the 2010 Brain Workshop

    The 2010 Brain Workshop is now in progress.

    Excitement is in the air. Virtually every pioneer and thought leader in the field of MR-guided Focused Ultrasound for brain treatments is in the room. Attendees represent academia, industry and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and include a international mix of specialties: neurosurgeons, neurologists, neuroradiologists, neuroscientists, biomedical engineers, physicists, product-development managers and medical device company executives.

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  • Third International Symposium on Focal Therapy and Imaging of Prostate and Kidney Cancer

    Third International Symposium on Focal Therapy and Imaging of Prostate and Kidney Cancer. Fairmont Hotel, Washington, DC.  February 24-27, 2010.

    Duke Comprehensive Care Cancer Center, Sponsor

    Existing ultrasound-based technologies for treatment of prostate cancer lack accurate real-time thermal feedback during therapy, so treatment is protocol-based rather than patient-specific. Prostate motion during focal treatment is a significant issue that must be addressed.  MRI-guidance (for FUS or laser therapy) continues to offer distinct advantages.

    Thought leaders in urology emphasize applying focal therapy to men who truly need treatment, citing some question about the level of accurate characterization by imaging and multi-site biopsies. The option of reliable focal therapy is in fact driving the movement towards more efficient characterization.  It is important to separate out those men who truly have “low risk disease” and might be managed safely by active surveillance.

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  • New Study Released on MR-guided Focused Ultrasound and Uterine Fibroids

    This week at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 35th Annual Scientific Meeting, Mayo Clinic researchers released the results of a 119-patient study that used MR-guided Focused Ultrasound* to treat uterine fibroids.

    The study covered a period of nearly three years, with patient feedback collected via phone interview 12 months post procedure. Of the 89 patients interviewed, 97% reported improvement in their symptoms, and 90% rated their improvement as either considerable or excellent. Over the next three years, the researchers will gather additional feedback about symptom relief from these patients at the 24-month and 36-month milestones.

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  • Laurent Leksell and Kullervo Hynynen Will be Featured Speakers at 2nd International MR-guided FUS Symposium

    Two pioneers in the field of noninvasive image-guided treatments – one an internationally-known entrepreneur and business executive, the other a physicist and world-class academic researcher – will be among the featured speakers at the 2nd International Symposium on MR-guided Focused Ultrasound in Washington, D.C. from October 17-20, 2010.

    The Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation has announced that Laurent Leksell, co-founder and long-time President and CEO of Gamma Knife-maker Elekta AB, will deliver the symposium’s keynote Batten Family Lecture.Based in Sweden, he currently serves as an executive member of Elekta’s board and is a member of its executive committee for the Asia Pacific Region.

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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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  • Speakers from Arizona to Zurich Join in Research Symposium to Mark Opening of Focused Ultrasound Center at UVA

    To celebrate the opening of UVA’s new Focused Ultrasound Center, an international array of speakers joined in a research symposium on September 14. The symposium featured presentations from the UVA team that will run the center and lead its research efforts, together with lectures by visiting speakers from Houston, London, Arizona, and Zurich.

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  • First Human Trials for MRI-guided Trans-urethral Ultrasound Technique for Prostate Cancer: Profound Medical Inc.

    The first human proof-of-concept study has begun at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Canada.

    Supported by an independent research grant, research scientists at Sunnybrook Health Science Centre, led by Chief of Urology, Dr Laurence Klotz, MD, have successfully begun the first human, proof-of-concept study for treating prostate cancer using their novel MRI-guided, trans-urethral ultrasound technique.

    After extensive testing of the technology in mathematical, gel, and pre-clinical models, the potential new treatment is now undergoing trials in a number of patient volunteers to affirm its safety, accuracy, and precision.

    The core intellectual property from this technology has been exclusively licensed to Profound Medical Inc. of Toronto, Canada, to accelerate commercialization under the guidance of the FDA and Health Canada.

    “We commend the team at Sunnybrook for their exemplary research and clinical work. It’s a significant moment in the company’s history, as well as potentially having a major impact on how prostate cancer patients may be treated in the next decade. We can expect to proceed as planned with human clinical feasibility trials in the USA and Canada in the near future with our medical device,” stated Paul Chipperton, CEO of PMI.

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  • Third Autumn School on Therapeutic Ultrasound – Attendee Reports

    On September 28, 2009, more than 75 attendees trekked to Cargese, Corsica, for the Third Autumn School on Therapeutic Ultrasound.  The School was directed by Gail ter Haar, PhD, of the Institute of Cancer Research, and Mathias Fink, PhD, founder of the Institut Langevin in Paris.

    The organizational heavy lifting was undertaken by two full-time researchers at the Institut Langevin, Jean-François Aubry and Jean-Luc Gennisson, who did an exceptional job of bringing together attendees from 10 countries, including 19 faculty members.  For the students, it was an incomparable opportunity to learn from the leaders in the rapidly emerging field of therapeutic ultrasound.  The lectures began with an introduction to the physics and biophysics to build the foundation for understanding the technical aspects of therapeutic ultrasound, followed by individual lectures on topics ranging from commercial devices for treating prostate cancer to emerging applications for focused ultrasound.  – Joy Polefrone, PhD, FUSF

    The small town of Cargese, with only 290 inhabitants, allowed all of the sage and budding scientists in this newly emerging field to delve into the current technology, assess new developments as well as systems under development, and freely explore a wide range of biological and engineering challenges to FUS. The setting afforded ample opportunities for participants to meet with faculty while looking out over the cliffs, beaches, and Mediterranean sunsets.  Where or when the next FUS school for scientists will take place is not yet known – France, London, or the USA.  But hopefully it will afford opportunities to delve into many topics and to appraise the latest developments in the field with the same success experienced in Cargese in 2009. Stanley H. Benedict, PhD,University ofVirginia

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  • UVA Research Symposium - Detailed Meeting Report

    A dedicated Focused Ultrasound Center with comprehensive research plans

    The Symposium was opened by James M. Larner, MD, chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at UVA, and director of the new Focused Ultrasound Center. “If this technology is half as successful as many people in this audience today would say, a number of other technologies will be disrupted,” Larner said. “But we have no choice but to recognize and help uncover the truth.”

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  • NIH Funding Opportunities

    The NIH is currently seeking "high risk, high impact proposals" for its 2010 NIH Director's Pioneer Awards and New Innovator Awards Programs, both of which are part of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research.

    Pioneer Awards provide up to $2.5 million in direct costs over 5 years and are open to scientists at any career stage. New Innovator Awards provide up to $1.5 million in direct costs over the same period and are for early stage investigators who have not yet received an NIH regular research (R01) or similar NIH grant.

    The deadline for submitting Pioneer Award applications is October 20, 2009. For more information, please see the instructions in the RFA(RFA-RM-09-010) and

    The deadline for submitting New Innovator Award applications is October 27, 2009. For more information, please see the instructions in the RFA(RFA-RM-09-011) and

    Thanks to Ellie Murcia of the NIH Office of the Director for notifying us of these opportunities.

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  • World Society of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery Report

    The World Society of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery (WSSFN) had its 15th Quadrennial Meeting in Toronto, Canada May 24-27, 2009 (Detailed program).  More than 500 functional neurosurgeons from around the world convened to discuss their latest findings.  As a group, functional neurosurgeons have the highest percentage of interest in MRgFUS of any group of clinical physicians (virtually 100%).

    There has been a surge in interest using deep brain stimulation (DBS) for neuromodulation in functional neurosurgery over the last decade.  The main limitations of DBS for movement disorders, pain and behavioral disorders are cost in both money and time, and the necessity of a neurosurgical operation that entails some risk of hemorrhage, infection, mechanical failure, neurologic damage, etc. One tremendous advantage of MRgFUS is the non-invasive nature of the technique. Any form of lesioning, including MRgFUS, gains significant advantage through targeting techniques that assure a safe, effective lesion location.  MRgFUS offers distinct advantages over other techniques through MR thermometry (visualization of the actual energy focus prior to lesioning) and neurophysiological assessment through transient neuromodulation effects.  This counters the main advantage of DBS, which is its reversibility in the face of a misplaced lead (with adverse neurologic symptoms.)

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  • MR-guided Focused Ultrasound Treatment of Breast Cancer

    Kyoshi Namba M.D. (Breastopia Namba Hospital, Japan) presented a very comprehensive and optimistic review of the clinical trials investigating breast cancer treatment with MRgFUS. He started by applauding the remarkable progress in breast conserving treatments for breast cancer, and predicted that focused ultrasound would be the ultimate minimally invasive treatment which avoids scarring, a possibility which he, as a breast surgeon, is keen to embrace.

    Dr Namba described the importance of ongoing monitoring of disease using MRI during the pre-operative phase during which chemotherapy and radiation are utilized. The great benefit of the MRI modality is that it allows the rapid identification of non-responders and switching to other treatments. (References given: Lehman and Furusawa).

    Like MRI, focused ultrasound is seen as a conservative treatment as it does not use ionizing radiation and does not preclude other more aggressive therapy to follow. Since 2002 it has been studied as comparison to lumpectomy in breast cancer, and integrated into the breast healthcare system in his hospital in Japan. 

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  • Society for Thermal Medicine Conference Summary – MR guided High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Stands Out

    Founded in 1986 by researchers in the area of thermal therapy, the Society for Thermal Medicine has facilitated a forum for discussion of research for more than 20 years. The Society’s 2009 Annual Meeting was held in Tucson, Arizona, on April 3–7, with a program jam-packed with presentations on research topics that included Targeted Drug Delivery and Liposomes, Thermal Effects on the Immune System and the Tumor Microenvironment, and even a full session on MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound. 

    Targeted Drug Delivery is a research area the Foundation has consistently predicted will have tremendous potential when coupled with Focused Ultrasound. In fact, we recently funded a research project to support work by Katherine Ferrara’s group at the University of California at Davis that aims to create and validate clinically relevant ultrasound-enhanced drug delivery. One of Dr. Ferrara’s colleagues, Dustin Kruse, PhD, presented related work at STM, and we look forward to seeing continued success from Ferrara’s lab, aided by Foundation resources.

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  • Society of Thermal Medicine Meeting Detailed Report

    The Society for Thermal Medicine met in Tucson in early April, 2009.  There were numerous presentations of interest to those of us in Focused Ultrasound Surgery. On Saturday afternoon, April 4, there was a symposium devoted entirely to MRgFUS (Symposium III: New Developments in MR-Guided High Intensity Focused Ultrasound).

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  • FUSF Funds Targeted Drug Delivery Research Project

    "Creation and Validation of a Clinically‐relevant Ultrasound‐enhanced Drug Delivery Strategy"

    Katherine W. Ferrara, Ph.D., University of California, Davis

    Summary: The primary purpose of this study is to determine the exact protocol for maximizing ultrasound-enhanced accumulation of drug in tumor and surrounding tissue. The study will use a system which precisely quantifies full-body drug biodistribution to measure drug accumulation enhancement in relation to low-mechanical index ultrasound.  A separate system will precisely control the ultrasound parameters and the resulting heating. These methods will be combined to optimize the ultrasound dose, measure accumulation and distribution of drug, and to assess efficacy.  This in-vivo study will utilize liposomal cisplatin and PET imaging. The award is for $100,000, to commence Q2 2009.  

    To see more funded research projects, see here


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  • FUSF Funds Brain Disorder Research Project

    “Treatment of Chronic Functional Brain Disorders using Transcranial MR-guided Focused Ultrasound”

    Daniel Jeanmonod, M.D., University Children’s Hospital, Zurich

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  • Cyprus Veterinary Team Receives €1M Focused Ultrasound Grant

    Christakis Damianou, PhD, an electrical engineering professor at the Cyprus University of Technology, was recently awarded a €1 million grant to develop an MR-guided focused ultrasound system for use in dogs and cats. 

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  • Meeting Report: 7th Emirates International Neurosurgical Conference

    The 7th Emirates International Neurosurgical Conferencetook place in Dubai, UAE, from December 12–14, 2019. The program included two focused ultrasound presentations by faculty from the University of Palermo in Sicily, Italy, providing two-year follow-up data on patients with essential tremor or Parkinson’s disease who underwent focused ultrasound treatment.

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  • Focused Ultrasound for Spinal Cord Injury: Johns Hopkins Receives Funding for New Device

    In a recent press release, Johns Hopkins Medicine announced that a team of its neurosurgeons and biomedical engineers had received a $13.48 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop implantable focused ultrasound neuromodulation devices that can monitor blood flow and then administer treatment to prevent further damage in patients with a traumatic spinal cord injury.

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  • One-Year Outcome Data Published for Glioblastoma Trial

    One-Year Outcome of Multiple Blood-Brain Barrier Disruptions with Temozolomide for the Treatment of Glioblastoma

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  • Foundation Holds Focused Ultrasound for DIPG Workshop

    • On Wednesday, October 27, the Foundation hosted a virtual workshop on focused ultrasound for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).
    • DIPGs are highly aggressive and devastating brain tumors that affect young children.
    • Prerecorded presentations and the workshop recording are now available.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Low Back Pain Study Results Published

    • FUSMobile, a company developing a focused ultrasound platform for neural tissue ablation has published the results from its first clinical pilot study for the treatment of low back pain.
    • The study enrolled 10 participants, who reported no significant device- or procedure-related adverse events.
    • The Foundation funded a portion of this trial.

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  • 4th Quarter 2020 Research Award

    Brain Clinical Project: Cervical Dystonia Clinical Trial
    The Foundation’s Brain Clinical Programhas selected a new project to fund in the fourth quarter of 2020. Shiro Horisawa, MD, will use focused ultrasound to treat patients with cervical dystonia, a painful condition in which neck muscles contract uncontrollably. There is currently no cure for this debilitating condition.

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  • Alzheimer’s Disease: Preclinical Study Explores Impact of Focused Ultrasound

    Improvement of Glymphatic-lymphatic Drainage of Beta-amyloid by Focused Ultrasound in Alzheimer’s Disease Model

    Along with their nuclear medicine colleagues, the focused ultrasound and biomedical research teams at Seoul National University in Korea conducted preclinical studies to confirm the mechanism of action that decreases beta-amyloid plaque accumulation in a mice model of dementia after applying focused ultrasound plus microbubbles to open the blood-brain barrier. Their findings suggest that the glymphatic-lymphatic system drains, or clears, beta-amyloid from the brain to the cerebral spinal fluid to delay the progression of dementia. See the Confirmatory Results section of the bioRxiv Neuroscience preprint server >

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  • Apply Now: Women in Cancer Immunotherapy Leadership Institute

    sitc log colorThe Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) will host two Women in Cancer Immunotherapy Network (WIN) Leadership Institutes this summer, July 13–14, in Seattle, and August 3–4, in Chicago. The programs, free to accepted applicants, are one-and-a-half-day education and networking events that seek to empower emerging female leaders in the cancer immunotherapy field.

    Interested applicants must apply by March 23, 2020.

    Learn More and Apply >

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  • $16.7 Million Grant to Spur Focused Ultrasound Brain Research in Toronto

    Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has announced a new initiative to revolutionize the treatment of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, and brain cancer.

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  • FDA Issues Guidance on Clinical Trials Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

    FDAlogo 300The global COVID-19 pandemic will likely impact current and planned clinical trials, including those using focused ultrasound. The guidance released by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledges this likelihood and focuses on the safety of trial participants and medical staff while also maintaining compliance and good clinical practice. The considerations outline alternative methods of data collection, such as via phone or email, and additional safety monitoring.

    Read the Guidance >

    See Additional Relevant COVID-19 Resources >

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  • Meeting Report: RSNA 2020

    The 106th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) was a highly scaled-back virtual meeting that took place November 29 through December 5, 2020.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Study for Pets Funded by Petco Foundation, Blue Buffalo

    In a May 2 announcement, the Petco Foundation and Blue Buffalo pledged a portion of their $2.6 million annual fundraising campaign to Oklahoma State University’s Center of Veterinary Health Sciences Focused Ultrasound Treatment Program. Oklahoma State is one of several centers that participate in the Foundation’s Veterinary Program to fund clinical trials that enroll pets.

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  • Could Focused Ultrasound Help Patients with Diabetic Neuropathy?

    Vasomodulation of Peripheral Blood Flow by Focused Ultrasound Potentiates Improvement of Diabetic Neuropathy

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  • Results Published: Focused Ultrasound as a Treatment for Facial Pain

    MR-Guided Focused Ultrasound Central Lateral Thalamotomy for Trigeminal Neuralgia. Single Center Experience

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  • Low-Intensity Focused Ultrasound for Cartilage Healing and Soft Tissue Pain

    Teams in Korea and China are conducting preclinical research on low-intensity focused ultrasound’s ability to help regenerate cartilage and relieve pain from soft tissue injuries.

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  • First High-Grade Glioma Patient Enrolled in Clinical Trial of Sonodynamic Therapy Using Focused Ultrasound

    • A new clinical trial is investigating the use of focused ultrasound to treat patients with recurrent glioblastoma and other high-grade gliomas.
    • Researchers are exploring sonodynamic therapy – or using focused ultrasound to activate a drug to cause tumor cell death – in these patients.
    • The trial is ongoing at the Ivy Brain Tumor Center at Barrow Neurological Institute.

    Continue reading >

  • Meeting Report: Pan Canada Neurotechnology Ethics Collaborative

    “From Talk to Action: Canadian Leadership Ethics and Neurotechnology” was the theme of the Pan Canada Neurotechnology Ethics Collaborative’s virtual workshop held June 8, 2020.

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  • Master’s Student Completes Foundation-funded Thermometry Project

    One of the Foundation’s central values is to foster the next generation of researchers, and we are proud to announce that Yekaterina “Katya” Gilbo recently completed her work on a focused ultrasound thermometry project sponsored by the Foundation and earned her Master of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Clinical Trial Begins to Treat Peripheral Vascular Disease

    International Cardio Corporation (ICC) recently announced the first-in-human use of focused ultrasound in an initial step to noninvasively treat plaques in peripheral arteries. The 15-patient Phase 1 trial is ongoing in the Netherlands, investigating the company’s SynthesizerTM device to thermally ablate and stabilize vulnerable and occlusive plaques.

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  • NaviFUS Launches Brain Tumor Clinical Trial in Taiwan

    Taiwan-based focused ultrasound manufacturer NaviFUS recently announced the start of its first clinical trial for glioblastoma. To date, three patients have been treated. Researchers at Chang Gung Memorial Hospitalare investigating focused ultrasound to induce opening of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in patients with glioblastoma using optically guided, neuronavigational technology. The safety and feasibility study uses the company's proprietary system to noninvasively treat these deadly cancers.

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  • November 2018 Research Roundup

    Have you read the new journal articles about using focused ultrasound to treat cardiac arrhythmias, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease? Recently published work by scientists from two focused ultrasound Centers of Excellence investigates a transesophageal application for cardiac ablation and describes the outcomes from preclinical studies that examine the effect of focused ultrasound on beta-amyloid in Alzheimer’s and on Lewy pathology in Parkinson's.

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  • New Preclinical Device for Focused Ultrasound in Glioblastoma

    • French researchers developed a device to provide focused ultrasound blood-brain barrier opening and continuous wave laser photothermal therapy.
    • The one-transducer system uses real-time photoacoustic in situ temperature monitoring.
    • It will be used to treat glioblastoma models.

    Continue reading >

  • COVID-19 Research Project Delays

    The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is keenly aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in institutional and laboratory closures and unforeseen project delays of all types. We are committed to keeping focused ultrasound research moving forward with as little disruption as possible. On a case-by-case basis, we will assess research progress and consider no-cost extensions to your research agreement to facilitate completion of your project.

    If you are a Focused Ultrasound Foundation funded researcher, please reach out to your project manager to discuss your COVID-19 delays and requested project timeline extensions.

    Continue reading >

  • Opening the Blood-Brain Barrier After Whole-Brain Radiation Therapy

    Observed Effects of Whole-Brain Radiation Therapy on Focused Ultrasound Blood–Brain Barrier Disruption

    Nathan McDannold’s group at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School recently completed a study to determine whether prior brain irradiation affected outcomes when opening the blood-brain barrier (BBB) with focused ultrasound and microbubbles. This preclinical study in a mouse model tested whether BBB opening varied between brain tissue that was exposed to 3 grays of radiation for 10 consecutive days and non-irradiated tissue. The microbubble-assisted BBB opening was performed unilaterally so the contralateral side could serve as a control. Did prior radiation of the brain act as a sensitizer for BBB opening?

    See Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology>

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  • Fellowship Update: Will Grissom, PhD

    Will Grissom, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University, recently completed a year-long, remote-based research fellowship with the Foundation. He researched and developed new methods for measuring brain temperature during focused ultrasound treatments, resulting in the publication of two manuscripts and the completion of a collaborative multisite project. Read below to learn about the three projects wherein Dr. Grissom collaborated with Foundation scientists and focused ultrasound experts throughout the greater community to improve imaging used to guide focused ultrasound.

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  • 4th Quarter Research Award 2018

    The Foundation’s External Awards Program has selected a new project for funding in the final quarter of 2018. Alan Verkman, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Physiology in the Department of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, will conduct a study entitled, “Focused ultrasound for therapy of neuromyelitis optica – an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system.”

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  • Register Now for Pediatric Focused Ultrasound Meeting in Toronto

    A team at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is organizing a one-day event on Thursday, April 11, for researchers, physicists, and clinicians with an interest in the use of focused ultrasound therapy in pediatric patients.

    Continue reading >

  • New Clinical Trial of Focused Ultrasound–Enhanced Chemotherapy for Pancreatic Cancer

    • The University of Oxford has begun a Phase I clinical trial investigating heat-activated chemotherapy triggered by focused ultrasound in patients with pancreatic cancer.
    • The "PanDox" study uses Celsion Corporation’s ThermoDox® – a proprietary heat-activated liposomal encapsulation of the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin.
    • Researchers will compare ThermoDox plus focused ultrasound to enhance delivery of the drug in unresectable pancreatic tumors, versus standard, systemic delivery of free doxorubicin.

    Continue reading >

  • Veterinary Applications of Focused Ultrasound for Solid Tissue Tumors and their Metastases

    • Veterinary researchers at Virginia Tech have written a comprehensive review of using focused ultrasound to treat solid tumor cancers and their metastases.
    • Treatment techniques discussed include thermal ablation, histotripsy, and the immune effects of focused ultrasound.
    • The group describes basic principles and suggests future clinical applications in veterinary oncology.

    Continue reading >

  • Optimizing Focused Ultrasound Capsulotomy for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

    • An international group of neuroscientists investigated the relationship between lesion location and long-term outcome in OCD patients treated with focused ultrasound capsulotomy.
    • Lesioning in a specific area in the dorsal anterior limb of the internal capsule produced successful, long-term relief of symptoms.
    • Lesion engagement of areas 24 and 46 was significantly associated with clinical outcomes.

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  • Meeting Report: International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) 2020

    ISMRM Conference logo 2020The Annual Meeting of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM 2020)was held as a virtual conference and exhibition from August 8–14, 2020. This scientific and clinical meeting, which was held in conjunction with the Society of MR Radiographers & Technologists (SMRT), included nine focused ultrasound presentations and 24 posters.

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  • Meeting Report: IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium 2019

    The 2019 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium (IUS) took place October 6-9 in Glasgow, Scotland. The meeting brought together an international group of more than 1,500 representatives from academia and industry to exchange scientific ideas, collaborate on future projects, and learn about new products.

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  • A Cell-Specific Focused Ultrasound Neuromodulation Technique

    Targeted Neurostimulation in Mouse Brains with Non-invasive Ultrasound

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  • Five Sites Awarded Funding for Focused Ultrasound Research for Pain Management

    Five focused ultrasound research groups have received novel National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants to study using the technology for pain management in a wide variety of applications.

    Continue reading >

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