• Research Update: Real-time 3D MR Thermometry

    A recently completed Foundation-funded research project has resulted in the filing of a new US Patent Application.

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  • Sunny Forecast for Meteorologist Treated with Focused Ultrasound for Prostate Cancer

    Reed Yadon was living a busy life in Kentucky as a television meteorologist and helicopter pilot when he says his world suddenly changed. After a routine annual physical revealed his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level had increased, a urologist confirmed one of his worst fears: he had prostate cancer.

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  • HIFU Prostate Services Partners with Physicians for Success

    In the wake of FDA approval, HIFU Prostate Services (HPS) has been created to facilitate rapid adoption of focused ultrasound treatment for the prostate. We interviewed John Linn, Chief Executive Officer of HPS, to better understand the company’s plans for successful commercialization of FUS technology in the US, patient support and recruitment, and physician support and training. HPS is the first company to establish centers in the US offering SonaCare’s Sonablate HIFU technology.

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  • FUS and the Prostate

    Prostate ablation is the leading application of focused ultrasound, having been used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), partial gland cancer, localized whole-gland cancer, and recurrent cancer. While HIFU may be helpful, active surveillance may be the most appropriate approach for early disease. In cases where the physician recommends treatment or the patient prefers treatment, focused ultrasound may be a good alternative.

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  • FUS Plus Chemotherapy Cures Cancer in Mice

    In a new paper in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, Katherine W. Ferrara, PhD, and her team at UC Davis report their strategy to destroy an entire tumor without thermal destruction of the tumor margin. Her group used focused ultrasound to dramatically increase the concentration of doxorubicin within several types of tumors using mouse models of mammary carcinoma.

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  • Translation and Commercialization Flourish at the University of Washington

    Eight years ago, focused ultrasound pioneer Larry Crum, PhD, transitioned away from directing the department that houses the focused ultrasound efforts at the University of Washington (UW), but under the leadership of Tom Matula, PhD, it has continued to grow into a powerhouse for researching and commercializing focused ultrasound technologies.

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  • Foundation-supported BBB Research

    The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is committed to advancing the use of FUS to open the BBB and treat a range of neurological conditions. In addition to supporting research through our funding awards, we have organized several workshops exploring this topic, including a September 2013 BBB Workshop, a February 2015 Immunotherapy Workshop, and a September 2015 Alzheimer’s Workshop.

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  • October 2015 Research Roundup

    Recently published papers looked at skull-related issues in transcranial focused ultrasound, brain treatment envelope expansion using low-intensity, non-thermal, cavitation-enhanced ablation, and a fascinating history of the development of focused ultrasound in the 1950s.

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  • Investigator Profile: Q&A with Jürgen Götz, PhD

    Understanding the way that Alzheimer's disease cripples the brain and then designing an affordable treatment is what drives the work of Jürgen Götz, PhD.

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  • Investigator Profile: Q&A with Wady Gedroyc

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

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  • London Hospital Initiating Brain Trials, Pioneering Drug Delivery

    Wladyslaw Gedroyc Leading Innovation

    St. Mary’s Hospital in London will soon have the first focused ultrasound brain system in the UK. Leading radiologist Wladyslaw (Wady) Gedroyc recently secured funding from the Imperial College Hospital Charity for the Insightec ExAblate Neuro system.

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  • Korean Society of Therapeutic Ultrasound Holds Inaugural Conference

    The inaugural scientific conference of the Korean Society of Therapeutic Ultrasound (KSTU) was held at Yonsei Severance Hospital on September 19. One of the Foundation’s 2015 interns, Chanzhu Jin, joined the group of 80 neurosurgeons, neurologists, scientists, and engineers to enjoy 9 lectures, 10 abstract presentations, and a special lecture by University of Washington pancreatic cancer expert Joo Ha Hwang, MD, PhD.

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  • Clinical Treatments Featured at 2015 European Symposium

    More than 180 international focused ultrasound experts gathered in London at the Royal Geographic Society for the 3rd European Symposium on Focused Ultrasound Therapy, held October 15-16.

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  • FDA Approves First Focused Ultrasound System for Treating the Prostate

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

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  • Profound Partners with Philips for Prostate

    As announced this summer by Philips and Toronto-based Profound Medical, the two companies will integrate Profound’s TULSA (Transurethral Ultrasound Ablation) technology onto Philips’ 3T MRI systems. TULSA is designed to provide minimally invasive, single session whole gland ablation for patients with prostate cancer.

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  • September 2015 Research Roundup

    Advances in focused ultrasound brain treatment are ongoing. Efforts to expand the treatment envelope in the brain are addressed in this month’s research roundup.

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  • 3rd Quarter 2015 Research Awards

    Two projects have been selected for funding for the 3rd quarter of 2015. The first is Dr. James Drake’s work at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. His group will establish an international database for pediatric focused ultrasound treatment. In urology, Dr. George Schade at the University of Washington will be assessing the use of histotripsy for treating renal tumors.

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  • Investigator Profile: Q&A with Seung-Schik Yoo, PhD, MBA

    Seung-Schik Yoo, PhD, MBA, is making breakthroughs in using focused ultrasound to induce functional neuromodulation of the brain and peripheral nervous system. With his global collaborative partners, he is experimenting with various FUS parameters to move the field closer to achieving this important milestone in humans.

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  • Investigator Profile: Q&A with Nathan McDannold, PhD

    Nathan McDannold, PhD, has put tremendous effort into the brain applications of focused ultrasound and worked with Kullervo Hynynen to become one of the first to open the blood-brain barrier. His work in drug delivery and neurodegenerative diseases is sure to change the way that medicine is practiced. A medical physicist, he has been a participant in the care of every focused ultrasound patient treated at BWH since 1996.

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  • Investigator Profile: Q&A with Clare Tempany, MD

    Radiologist Clare Tempany, MD, has been a Vice Chair for Research since 2007. She manages the National Center for Image Guided Therapy, a Focused Ultrasound Foundation Center of Excellence. The National Center is divided into several different research areas, including the Surgical Planning Laboratory directed by Seung-Schik Yoo, PhD, and the Focused Ultrasound Laboratory directed by Nathan McDannold, PhD. All combined, the teams total 40 to 50 total staff, including faculty, students, post-docs, and visiting students and faculty.

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  • Alzheimer’s Workshop to Develop Research Roadmap

    The Foundation hosted a workshop in Bethesda September 17-18 to discuss the state of the field, current challenges, and future research directions for using focused ultrasound to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

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  • Parkinson’s Patient No Longer Just Spinning Her Wheels

    For Kimberly Spletter, bike rides had always been a source of relaxation, until she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. She could no longer safely balance on her bike and had to turn to riding a stationary bike instead, as the uncontrollable movements associated with the illness even compromised her ability to walk.

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  • Investigator Profile — Zhen Xu, PhD

    This pioneer seeks to ultimately see the translation of this discovery to the medical clinic, providing life-changing non-invasive treatment for diseases such as blood clots, liver tumors, brain cancer, and congenital heart disease. We interviewed her in July 2015 for a closer look at her research:

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  • Foundation Research Award Update: Ultrasonic Thrombolysis Using Histotripsy

    Dr. Zhen Xu, PhD, and her group at the University of Michigan recently completed a Foundation-funded study that evaluated the use of histotripsy for thrombolysis—dissolving unwanted blood clots.

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  • July 2015 Research Roundup

    Recently published focused ultrasound (FUS) research includes a comprehensive review of its use in treating the brain, including central neuropathic pain, essential tremor, Parkinsonian tremor, brain tumors, and temporary disruption of the blood-brain barrier for targeted drug delivery. Physicians and scientists in Europe also published collaborative reviews on using FUS for breast cancer treatment and uterine fibroids. Additionally, ultrasound contrast agents may enhance the FUS treatment of uterine fibroids.

    Continue reading >

  • World’s First FUS Treatment on a Patient with Orthopedic Hardware

    Researchers at Stanford University have been able to use MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) to treat a patient’s cancer pain in her right hip, after failed radiation and placement of orthopedic hardware.

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  • Swiss Government To Create Focused Ultrasound Brain Treatment Registry

    Researchers Continue to Innovate

    Researchers at the Center for MR Imaging--guided Focused Ultrasound at the University of Zurich Children’s Hospital are pioneering the development of focused ultrasound for the brain in Europe.

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  • June 2015 Research Roundup

    Could a uterine fibroid numerical rating scale assist physicians with focused ultrasound patient selection? Is CT always needed when using focused ultrasound to treat the brain? Read these papers, along with two that review focused ultrasound treatment for glaucoma.

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  • Investigator Profile: Q&A with Elisa Konofagou, PhD

    Dr. Elisa Konofagou is Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Radiology at Columbia University and head of the Ultrasound Elasticity Imaging Laboratory (UEIL)there. Breaking through barriers, she is exploring alternative imaging techniques for focused ultrasound procedures, investigating neurological and cancer applications in preclinical studies, and working with her team to build medical devices in-house to meet their research needs.

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  • Foundation Scientists Build Collaboration in Korea

    Foundation scientists recently returned from a productive trip to Korea, where they made presentations and expanded our collaborative network. John Snell, PhD, Brain Program Technical Director and current and past Foundation fellows Dong-guk Paeng, PhD, and Jean-Francois Aubry, PhD spent a week speaking at two universities and two conferences. Dr. Paeng shared his country, national cuisine, and culture with the others.

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  • Neurosurgical Pioneer Named Honorary Symposium President

    A neurosurgeon and pioneer in using focused ultrasound for psychological disorders, Jin-woo Chang, MD, PhD, will serve as the Honorary President of the 5th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound, to be held August 28-September 1, 2016, in Bethesda, Maryland.

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  • Investigator Profile: Q&A with Justin Hanes, PhD

    Justin Hanes, PhD, is the Lewis J. Ort Professor of Ophthalmology, with joint appointments in Biomedical Engineering, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Environmental Health Sciences, Neurosurgery, Oncology, and Pharmacology & Molecular Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is also the Director of the Center for Nanomedicine, The Wilmer Eye Institute at JHU.

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  • Investigator Profile: Q&A with Rich Price, PhD

    Richard Price, PhD, is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Radiation & Radiation Oncology and Research Director of the UVA Focused Ultrasound Center. 

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  • UVA and Hopkins Collaborate to Use FUS to Deliver Nanoparticles into the Brain

    Biomedical engineers at the University of Virginia (UVA) and Johns Hopkins University (JHU) have developed a prolific collaboration that has generated several long-term, multi-million-dollar focused ultrasound research grants.

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  • Painful Bone Tumor Trial Begins at Children's National

    Children’s National Health System has become the first site in the US to use focused ultrasound to treat osteoid osteoma, a benign but painful bone tumor that commonly occurs in children and young adults.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Foundation Featured as Leading Philanthropy By Virginia Business

    The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is featured on the cover of the annual Generous Virginians issue of Virginia Business magazine out this June and now available online.

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  • International Businessman Ned Kelly Joins Focused Ultrasound Foundation Board

    Charlottesville, VA(May 20, 2015) – The Focused Ultrasound Foundation, an entrepreneurial, tax-exempt, 501(c)3 dedicated to improving lives by advancing a transformative non-invasive treatment technology, is pleased to welcomeEdward J. “Ned” Kelly, III to its Board of Directors. A seasoned executive in global banking, Mr. Kelly will advise the Foundation in strategic fundraising and facilitation of new engagement.

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  • Review Article Recommends FUS as Fibroid Treatment Option

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

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  • IGNITE Pursues Non-Invasive Pediatric Solutions

    On May 8th, the Image-Guided Non-Invasive Therapeutic Energy (IGNITE) Consortium met in Cincinnati to discuss using non-invasive therapies like focused ultrasound for treating pediatric diseases.

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  • Teenage Patient Captivates Audience at Foundation Event

    An event on May 11 hosted by the Foundation in Charlottesville allowed more than 150 supporters, community leaders, scientists, and others to hear about the latest research advances and meet one special patient.

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  • Investigator Profile — Chandan Guha, MBBS, PhD

    At February’s Cancer Immunotherapy workshop, Chandan Guha, MBBS, PhD, presented his preclinical work using focused ultrasound (FUS) to create a “tumor vaccine.”

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  • Focused Ultrasound Recognized as a Top Emerging Technology with Potential to Revolutionize Neurologic Care

    Focused ultrasound has been recognized by Partners HealthCare as one of the “Disruptive Dozen” emerging technologies with the potential to revolutionize neurological and psychiatric care over the next decade.

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  • Research Published on FUS Delivering Genes to the Spinal Cord

    Nature’s Gene Therapy journal has published pioneering work on the use of focused ultrasound to deliver genetic material across the blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB).

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  • Focused Ultrasound for Uterine Fibroids Deemed Cost-Effective, Least Invasive Treatment Option by Health Quality Ontario Committee

    Focused Ultrasound Foundation Calls for Reimbursement Solutions 
    to Broaden Access to Popular Procedure for Women

    Charlottesville, VA -- April 23, 2015 – The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC) has recommended Magnetic Resonance-Guided High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (MRgHIFU or MRgFUS) as a possible “cost-effective strategy” and a “safe and effective, noninvasive, uterine-preserving” option for women seeking treatment for uterine fibroids. A new evidence review by Health Quality Ontario (HQO) has led to a recommendation by OHTAC finding MRgHIFU offers significant improvement in fibroid symptoms and rapid post-procedure recovery for women, with a rare occurrence of complications and a low risk of needing further treatments. A companion OHTAC economic analysis also concluded that MRgHIFU could result in an annual savings of up to $4.15 million for Ontarians.

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  • April 2015 Foundation Research Award Update

    The presence of imbedded gold nanoparticles (GNPs) can amplify tumor tissue’s sensitivity to radiation therapy and potentially alter the course of treatment for many different types of cancer. Can focused ultrasound induce hyperthermia to improve the imbedding process? In the final report from a 2013 High-Risk Track Foundation Research Award submitted by MD Anderson Cancer Center Principle Investigators Sunil Krishnan, MD, and Jason Stafford, PhD, the answer is “Yes.”

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  • Progress in Drug Delivery Models Presented at STM 2015

    The thermosensitive drug delivery session included four abstracts on the use of focused ultrasound to treat various forms of cancer and to study the potential applications in the pediatric population during the Society for Thermal Medicine’s (STM) 32nd Annual Meeting held April 14-17 in Orlando.

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  • ISTU 2015: Clinical Highlights, Aubry Named President

    Approximately 250 attendees gathered at the historic Dom church in Utrecht, The Netherlands for the International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound's (ISTU) recent symposium. Presentations included updates from several ongoing clinical and technical studies. Jean-Francois Aubry, PhD, who spent more than a year as a Fellow at the Foundation, was chosen as the next President of ISTU.

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  • Suzanne LeBlang Named Chief Medical Officer

    The Foundation welcomes a leading focused ultrasound clinician to the team as Chief Medical Officer.

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  • Letter to Editor on FUS for Alzheimer’s Published

    In response to last month’s groundbreaking preclinical research on focused ultrasound improving memory in Alzheimer’s published in Science Translational Medicine, Jessica Foley, PhD, the Foundation’s Chief Scientific Officer, and Steven T. DeKosky, MD, Chair of the Foundation’s Alzheimer’s Disease Steering Committee, co-published a Letter to the Editor.

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

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

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  • Focused Ultrasound Foundation Receives $1 Million Challenge Grant: Donors Can Double Their Impact

    Charlottesville, VA(March 26, 2015) – The Focused Ultrasound Foundation, dedicated to improving lives by advancing a transformative non-invasive treatment technology, has received a one-year $1 million unrestricted challenge grant from an anonymous donor. The grant will match dollar-for-dollar the first $1 million given to support the Foundation’s programs in 2015.

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  • EDAP Changes U.S. Regulatory Strategy

    EDAP-TMS is changing their US regulatory strategy to pursue direct De Novo 510(k) approval for their Ablatherm systemto treat prostate cancer instead of continuing to pursue a Pre-Market Approval (PMA) application. The company made this decision based on discussions with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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  • March 2015 Research Roundup

    Leading the list of exciting new publications, Scientific Reports published Drs. Yongan Chung and Seung-Schik Yoo’s successful use of focused ultrasound--induced neuromodulation in a human subject. Additional highlighted work includes a technical study on the development of a new approach to possibly treat pancreatic cancer, a collaborative and comprehensive review of histotripsy indications, and a review from China of 5,000 patients in eight different indications who were treated with ultrasound-guided focused ultrasound.

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  • Foundation Research Award Update: Chris Diederich

    “MR Directed Focal Hyperthermia for Pelvic Disease” by Chris J. Diederich, PhD, et al. from the University of California San Francisco.

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  • 1st Quarter 2015 Foundation Research Award

    One project was selected for a Foundation research award in the first quarter of 2015. Principal Investigator Cyril Lafon, PhD, Director of Research at the French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), and his team will study “Trans-Esophageal Cardiac Ablation Using High Intensity Focused Ultrasound: A New Minimally Invasive Therapy for Treating Arrhythmias.”

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  • Fibroid Treatment Presented at Interventional Radiology Meeting

    This year’s Society of Interventional Radiology’s (SIR) Annual Scientific Meeting in Atlanta included two focused ultrasound presentations from researchers at the University of California San Francisco on predicting treatment success and near field temperature monitoring when treating uterine fibroids.

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  • Sunnybrook Research Institute: Progress from Laboratory to Clinic

    In just a few years, the Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto has grown into a translational research powerhouse, helping to advance the field of focused ultrasound in both the laboratory and the clinic. The group is headed by pioneering physicist Kullervo Hynynen, PhD, who has been conducting research in the field for more than 30 years, has over 300 publications, and was instrumental in the development of the first clinical system for MR-guided focused ultrasound.

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  • 21st Century Cures Legislation: Accelerating the Rate of Cures

    Last May, members of the US House of Representatives announced the 21st Century Cures initiative to keep America at the forefront of medical innovation.

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  • Winter School on Therapeutic Ultrasound

    Focused ultrasound leaders and researchers traveled to the mountains of France March 8-13 to pass on their knowledge to students in the field.

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  • Neal Kassell Presents the Foundation’s Collaboration Model at Israel BrainTech 2015

    Joining global thought leaders and directors of major brain initiatives, Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD, presented the Foundation’s collaborative research model at Israel BrainTech this month in Tel Aviv.

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  • New Pre-Clinical Research Further Validates Potential for Focused Ultrasound in Alzheimer's

    A pre-clinical study published this week in Science Translational Medicine suggests that focused ultrasound may hold a key to providing a non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical approach to treating Alzheimer’s disease.

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  • Study Suggests Focused Ultrasound May Help Unlock Alzheimer's

    New results published this week in Science Translational Medicine suggest that focused ultrasound might hold a key to providing a non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical therapy to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Used to Heat Brain Tumors

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

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  • February 2015 Research Roundup

    • A history and review in World Neurosurgery states that “as the quest for minimally invasive and noninvasive therapeutics continues to define the new neurosurgery, the focused ultrasound evolves to join the neurosurgical armamentarium.” Read the article.
    • Researchers at Columbia University used focused ultrasound to introduce neuroprotective and regenerative molecules across the blood-brain barrier. Read the article.

    • The Journal of Evidence Based Medicine includes a review on focused ultrasound for pancreatic cancer. Read the article.

    Ultrasound Guidance
    • Leading physicists review focused ultrasound-guided therapy under ultrasound, rather than MRI, guidance. Read the article.

    • A German medical review on uterine fibroid treatment includes focused ultrasound. Read the article.
    • Focused ultrasound is being used for several gynecologic indications in China. Read the article.

    Continue reading >

  • In Memoriam: Floyd Dunn

    On January 24, we lost one of the giants of therapeutic ultrasound when Professor Floyd Dunn passed away at age 90.

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  • Researchers Tackle Brain Technical Issues

    As more than 30 experts from around the world gathered at the Brain Simulation Workshop, we sat down with a group of young researchers to discuss the work needed to broaden the areas of the brain that can be treated with focused ultrasound.

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  • International Diplomat, Wellness Advocate Visits Foundation to Discuss Opportunities in China

    On January 16, the Foundation was honored to host international diplomat and wellness advocate, General Bernard Loeffke, to begin preliminary discussions about focused ultrasound technology and the Foundation’s potential opportunities for collaboration in China.

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  • Reimbursement Update

    As follow-up to the May 2014 Reimbursement Summit on bone pain and uterine fibroids, the Foundation organized stakeholder meetings in January to strategize essential tremor insurance reimbursement and further refine the plan for uterine fibroids.

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  • Groups Collaborate To Assess Potential of FUS-Immunotherapy Combination

    On February 11th in New York, the Foundation partnered with the Cancer Research Institute to convene a one-day meeting of scientists and clinicians to discuss the current status of and future directions for focused ultrasound (FUS) research as it relates to cancer immunotherapy. 

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  • Workshop Creates Roadmap for Brain Simulation

    Thirty leading engineers, physicists, and clinicians from 17 organizations convened at the Brain Workshop on Treatment Envelope & Simulation in Charlottesville February 2-3. They gathered to discuss ways to create accurate computer simulations to assess expanding the treatable area of the brain (treatment envelope), to facilitate patient selection, and to predict and prevent unwanted secondary effects like skull heating.

    Continue reading >

  • Study Explores Focused Ultrasound for Alzheimer's Disease

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

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

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

    Read the NIBIB Press Release.

    Read media coverage from DOTmed and Gizmag.

    Continue reading >

  • Sound waves being used to heat-treat cancer pain

    Researchers investigate if next-generation ultrasound can burn away cancer pain

    A pioneering clinical trial is testing whether focusing high-frequency sound waves onto the surface of bone where cancer has spread can burn away the source of pain.

    Continue reading >

  • Company Profile: Sonic Concepts

    During the recent visit from Sonic Concepts’ Founder and President, George Keilman, we asked about the creation, technological advancements, and new applications of the company.

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  • Important Meetings for Your 2015 Calendar

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

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  • Nanodroplets Enhance Focused Ultrasound Ablation

    Last August, we profiled external award recipient Paul Dayton, PhD and the nanodroplet research being conducted by his team at the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, Raleigh.

    Continue reading >

  • Council Member Meredith Woo to Lead Higher Education Program at the Open Society Foundations

    The Focused Ultrasound Foundation will have a new global ambassador as Council member Meredith Jung-En Woo, PhD joins the Open Society Foundations(OSF) as Director of the grant-making network’s International Higher Education Support Program.

    Continue reading >

  • Donations Needed to Fulfill $1 Million Matching Gift from Leading Educational Trust

    The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is grateful to start 2015 with a generous donation from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust. The Trust has pledged a 3:1 unrestricted matching gift in the amount of $250,000. The Foundation is now seeking $750,000 in unrestricted donations to complete this gift.

    Continue reading >

  • Publication Highlights Various Uses of Focused Ultrasound

    In its January 2015 issue, DOTmed Healthcare Business News published an article written by the Foundation's Scientific Director, Jessica Foley, PhD.

    Continue reading >

  • December 2014 Research Roundup

    Does focused ultrasound plus chemotherapy and radiation have a better survival rate, efficacy, and clinical outcome than other treatments for pancreatic cancer? Is focused ultrasound a safe and noninvasive treatment for local unresectable recurrence of osteosarcoma? What are the long-term results for uterine fibroid patients 5 years after focused ultrasound treatment? Can focused ultrasound be used for salvage therapy after brachytherapy in patients with prostate cancer? These questions were posed in recently published journal articles.

    Continue reading >

  • 2014 4th Quarter Research Awards

    The Foundation has funded five new External Research Award projects for the 4th quarter of 2014. Three preclinical and two clinical studies will evaluate the use of focused ultrasound for:

    • Papillary thyroid cancer (University of Virginia)
    • Intranasal DNA nanoparticle delivery (Northeastern University in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard University)
    • Osteoarthritis joint pain (Rizzoli Institute in Italy)
    • Neuromodulation and functional imaging (Vanderbilt University)
    • Multiple sclerosis (University of Washington)

    David Shonka, MD, University of Virginia clinical project: “A Pilot Study to Evaluate the Feasibility and Safety of High Intensity Focused Ultrasound for Treatment of Papillary Thyroid Cancer.”

    The incidence of differentiated thyroid cancers, comprised primarily of PTC, has more than doubled over the last twenty years, due in part to increased detection of small (≤2cm) tumors. Total thyroidectomy remains the recommended treatment for these malignancies, but poses significant risks and lifelong hormone replacement for patients. A non-surgical alternative is needed for this rapidly growing patient population. The purpose of this two-stage study is to evaluate the feasibility and safety of HIFU for treating PTC.

    Methodology: In Stage 1, HIFU ablation will be performed on biopsy-proven PTC thyroid nodules 9 weeks prior to thyroidectomy. Feasibility of HIFU is measured as completion of proposed therapy. Safety is evaluated by incidence of treatment-related adverse events. Efficacy is judged by serial diagnostic ultrasound (DUS) imaging performed every 3 weeks following HIFU and confirmed by histological exam of the target nodule following surgery. In Stage 2, subjects with small PTCs (≤2 cm) will be treated with HIFU ablation alone. Subjects will be followed for 12 months to assess residual disease and/or disease recurrence/progression. If a residual nodule of viable PTC persists after FUS treatment, or if patients exhibit evidence of progression, patients will have the option to undergo total thyroidectomy as a salvage procedure.

    Barbara Waszczak, PhD, Northeastern University in collaboration with Nathan McDannold at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, preclinical project: “Focused Ultrasound for Increased Delivery of Intranasal DNA Nanoparticles to Rat Brain.”

    We will investigate whether focused ultrasound (FUS) can increase delivery to the brain of a nonviral gene vector given by the intranasal route of administration. Aim 1 will examine different FUS treatment conditions to determine if FUS can increase total plasmid DNA nanoparticle (NP) delivery and transgene expression in the sonicated regions, the rat substantia nigra and striatum, two brain areas involved in Parkinson's Disease (PD). Aim 2 will test whether FUS improves tissue penetration and alters cellular transfection patterns in the sonicated regions following intranasal doses of DNA NPs. If successful, FUS may enable agents with poor capabilities of crossing the blood-brain barrier (BBB), e.g. neurotrophic factors, viral and non-viral vectors encoding them, to become disease-altering therapies by a non-invasive route of administration.

    Alberto Bazzocchi, MD, Rizzoli Institute (Italy), clinical project: “Magnetic Resonance guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery: a pilot study in the treatment of pain caused by osteoarthritis - hand and hip, challenging joints.”

    Pain caused by osteoarthritis is a matter of huge impact, in terms of quality of life, social, and economic burdens. The aging of the population is even going to augment the problem. The hand is the most affected site in the upper limb, and the trapeziometacarpal joint is crucial for the prevalence of the disease and for determining significant limitations of function when involved. In the lower limb, the hip and the knee share the leading position in the clinical scenario, with the former being historically the most frequently submitted to joint replacement. At any site, the vast majority of joint replacement surgery procedures are performed because of pain. Magnetic Resonance guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery (MRgFUS) has recently demonstrated a great potential in fighting pain caused by different medical conditions, including osteoarthritis. The aim of the work is to study the feasibility, the safety, and the potential efficacy of MRgFUS in treating pain from osteoarthritis in two "hot" spots: the hip and the trapeziometacarpal joint.

    Charles Caskey, PhD, Vanderbilt University, preclinical project: “Noninvasive targeted neuromodulation and functional imaging in behaving macaques.”

    All presently available neural stimulation methods are either invasive or can only be moderately localized, and a neurostimulation method that could overcome these limitations would be invaluable for the mapping of brain circuits, disease diagnosis in the brain, neurosurgery and therapy. Neural stimulation with magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) is a promising technology that can noninvasively excite or inhibit neural activity in well-defined discrete volumes of the brain, subsequently enabling investigation of brain circuits with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In this study, we seek to explore ultrasonic neuromodulation in the frontal eye field of a macaque monkey, while measuring the effects of neuromodulation via event-related potentials, behavioral responses, and blood oxygen level dependent functional MRI.

    Pierre Mourad, PhD, University of Washington, preclinical project: “Modulated focused ultrasound for treatment of demyelinating axons in multiple sclerosis lesions - pilot animal studies.”

    Multiple sclerosis is a debilitating disease whose symptoms arise from demyelination of axons within brain tissue with an attendant loss of central and peripheral function. We, among others, have shown that transcranial delivery of pulsed focused ultrasound (pFU) can non-destructively activate central neural circuits. Others have shown enhanced myelin remodeling of axons activated by laser light in an optogenetic mouse model. We hypothesize that pFU activation of axons within MS lesions in a rodent model will decrease their demyelination and increase their re-myelination. If successful, this non-invasive therapy may lead to rapid advancements in the treatment of MS and other demyelinating neurological disorders.

    See the complete database of funded projects.

    Researchers who are interested in applying for an external research award should contact Matt Eames, PhD, Director of Extramural Research, (434) 326-9834 or

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  • Focused Ultrasound at RSNA 2014

    The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) again featured significant focused ultrasound research at its 2014 annual meeting. A total of 18 abstracts covered a range of different diseases, including musculoskeletal tumors, neurological and oncological applications, bone metastases, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and uterine fibroids. In addition to the papers and posters, one entire session was dedicated to focused ultrasound, and the technology was also included in the “Hot Topics” session.

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  • Investigator Profile: Jin-woo Chang, MD, PhD

    Neurosurgeon Jin-woo Chang, MD, PhD, is pioneering focused ultrasound research for neurological and psychiatric disorders. Currently directing the Korean site for the ExAblate Essential Tremor pivotal trial, he also performed the world’s first focused ultrasound pallidotomy in a patient with Parkinson’s disease as part of the global Parkinson’s Dyskinesia study. In addition to movement disorders, Dr. Chang is breaking new ground by conducting the world’s first clinical trials using focused ultrasound to treat psychiatric disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression.

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  • FUS and the Brain on Cover of Health Management

    Focused Ultrasound and The Brain is the featured cover story of this month’s Health Management journal. Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD, shares his thoughts on why focused ultrasound is a promising treatment option for brain conditions, which diseases might best respond to focused ultrasound, and the challenges that may block its widespread adoption.

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  • Foundation and Philips Present on Focused Ultrasound at Partnering for Cures Conference

    The Foundation’s Reimbursement Working Group was selected for an Innovator Presentation at the 2014 Partnering for Cures annual meeting.

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  • Dr. Dong-guk Paeng Joins Foundation as Merkin Fellow

    The Richard Merkin Visiting Fellowship Program will begin on January 1, 2015 with the arrival of Dong-guk Paeng, PhD from Jeju National University in Korea.

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  • Focused Ultrasound Named Technology to Watch

    Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry (MD+DI) recently listed focused ultrasound as one of its top five technologies to watch in 2015.

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  • Focused Ultrasound featured on Fox News

    In a recent Fox News interview, Carol Alt, host of A Healthy You, sat down with Lisa Davis, host of It’s Your Health Network, to talk about focused ultrasound.

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  • HealthManagement Journal Highlights Brain Research

    In its recent cover story, HealthManagement tackled all aspects of brain research, including focused ultrasound in an interview with the Foundation’s chairman, Neal F. Kassell, MD.

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  • EDAP Receives FDA Guidance for Ablatherm

    EDAP-TMS received a letter from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicating that, although their premarket application for the Ablatherm device to treat localized prostate cancer was not approvable in its current form, a path forward is possible.

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  • Essential Tremor Pivotal Trial Enrollment Complete

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

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  • November 2014 - Research Roundup

    Three interesting papers have recently been published about the use of focused ultrasound (FUS) in the brain. Could 3D MR thermometry play a key role in understanding and expanding the FUS treatment envelope? Does skull thickness matter? What parameters are needed to begin using low-frequency FUS in the brain?

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  • Focused Ultrasound Research Broadly Recognized at the 10th Interventional MRI Symposium in Germany

    A research group based at Kobe University in Japan received the magna cum laude poster award at the 10th Interventional MRI Symposium held last month in Leipzig, Germany. Their winning project featured work in analyzing liver deformation to obtain MR images prior to focused ultrasound (FUS) treatment. Of the 63 posters accepted at this technically-oriented meeting, seven included FUS.

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

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

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

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  • Council Co-Chair Jane Batten Hosts Virginia Beach Awareness Event

    On November 3rd, Foundation Council co-chair Jane Batten and Vince Mastracco hosted a luncheon in Virginia Beach for 25 community leaders who were interested in learning about focused ultrasound and its potential to revolutionize medicine, save lives, and reduce suffering. During the program, Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD, presented the Foundation’s history and a brief overview of the technology. A focused ultrasound patient then shared his story with the group.

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  • Elekta’s Executive Director Shares Insight, Praises the Role of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation

    Tomas Puusepp, Executive Director of the Board of Elekta and its former CEO, recently visited the Foundation and shared his experience in providing an emerging technology (the Gamma Knife) to the patients who need it. His thoughts on taking risks, competition, and overcoming barriers provide many valuable insights that apply to focused ultrasound.

    When Puusepp joined Elekta in 1988, it was a $5 million company with a staff of 22—today it has $1.5 billion in revenue and 4,000 employees. With a background in electrical engineering and physics, he advanced through the management ranks within Elekta to serve as President and CEO from 2005 through April 2014.

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  • FDA Panel Calls for More Data on Sonacare’s Prostate Treatment

    sonacareA US Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted on October 1 not to recommend approval at this time for Sonacare Medical's Sonablate 450 focused ultrasound system for the treatment of recurrent prostate cancer.

    The panel felt the interim data of 100 patients in a 200-patient trial was insufficient to recommend approval, and they advised the company to continue their ongoing study. The experts voted that the risk of the treatment was too high for the limited efficacy demonstrated, that there is not reasonable assurance that the system is effective for this population, and that the benefits do not outweigh the risks based on the evidence presented. Sonablate did receive some positive votes for safety and efficacy, but not enough to meet the level of evidence needed to recommend approval in the United States.

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  • Symposium Exhibitors

    A global leader in therapeutic ultrasound and active in the market for more than 30 years, EDAP TMS (NASDAQ: EDAP) develops, manufactures, promotes, and distributes minimally invasive medical devices for urology using ultrasound technology for two distinct therapeutic applications: noninvasive treatment of prostate cancer, and extracorporeal electroconductive shock wave treatment of urinary stones.

    electronics and innovation logoElectronics & Innovation, Ltd.
    Electronics & Innovation Ltd. (E&I) is a world leader in providing rugged and reliable RF power amplifiers. E&I designs and manufacturers RF broadband power amplifiers, phased array systems, impedance matching and variable transformers, and custom RF solutions. In addition to our standard product lines, we are now offering custom modules and pallets – designed specifically to fulfill your OEM requirements. Operating globally and continuing to expand our technology, E&I is committed to providing RF power solutions of the highest quality, durability, and ruggedness.

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  • Global Intern Program

    JemmaDuring a Foundation Board of Directors meeting, Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach was impressed with the level and scope of projects completed by students in the Summer Internship Program and suggested that the successful endeavor should be extended worldwide. Therefore, this summer, twelve high school and undergraduate university students interested in the physical and life sciences were selected to participate in the first Global Internship Program, and each was matched with an academic researcher or industry mentor at a recognized international site.

    Seven of the twelve students who completed the requirements submitted abstracts for the 2014 Symposium and will present their work during the poster session. One project, submitted by Institute of Cancer Research intern Jemma Brown, was awarded travel support as the best student abstract of 2014.

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  • Company Profile: Philips Healthcare

    This month, we highlight the company behind the new focused ultrasound Center of Excellence (COE) in London: Philips Healthcare. Thanks to Philips’ generous support and impressive scientific vision, the COE is established at the Institute for Cancer Research (ICR) at The Royal Marsden Hospital’s Sutton, Surrey site and will advance focused ultrasound treatment of cancer.

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  • September 2014 Research Roundup

    Could focused ultrasound be a safer and more effective treatment for hypersplenism (a common disease where the spleen is overactive and removes blood cells too early and too quickly) than current conventional treatments? When it comes to biomedical engineering, focused ultrasound transducers can have complicated geometric patterns – is 3D printing the answer to their fabrication?

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