Focused Ultrasound Foundation Launches Veterinary Program
- Published: November 14, 2017
“Veterinary medicine can lag behind human medicine, leaving veterinarians frustrated with the lack of options for their patients,” says Foundation Veterinary Program Director Kelsie Timbie, PhD. “Our goal with this program is to create a win-win scenario for all involved. Veterinarians will have new, innovative therapies to offer clients, and insights gained in dogs and cats will help inform clinical trial design in humans.”
The goal of this research program is to offer a variety of benefits over traditional therapies in animals, including faster recovery times, a reduced risk of infection, and no aggravating stitches to chew. Focused ultrasound is an effective way to treat inaccessible areas, as well as incompletely treated or recurrent tumors. Tumors can be treated in a single session, whereas radiation treatments require multiple visits and substantial time away from home.
The first study in this program will take place in early 2018 at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM) at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., and will use focused ultrasound to treat naturally occurring soft tissue tumors, such as sarcomas and mast cell tumors, in dogs.
“We hope to use focused ultrasound to non-invasively destroy tumors and to disrupt tumor cell membranes and stimulate a dog’s own immune system to fight the cancer,” said Jeffrey Ruth, DVM, who will lead the VMCVM study. “Because many types of tumors that affect people also occur naturally in dogs, focused ultrasound could not only augment the traditional approach to cancer in dogs but also advance our understanding of human cancer.”
“Traditionally, animals have served as models in comparative studies before innovative therapies can be explored in human trials,” said Foundation chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD. “This trial allows us to apply the experience obtained using focused ultrasound in humans to treating dogs.”
Future veterinary studies are being planned to use focused ultrasound for other types of cancer, wound healing, non-invasive spaying, and denervation for pain from hip dysplasia. Focused ultrasound can also be used in combination with chemo- and immunotherapies to target and/or enhance those treatments.
Pet owners who are interested in learning more about the study at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine should contact:
Mindy Quigley – Clinical Trials Coordinator, VMCVM
The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is actively seeking to promote interest in focused ultrasound within the veterinary community. Researchers and veterinarians should contact the Foundation’s director of the veterinary program, Kelsie Timbie, PhD, at or visit the Veterinary Program page.
About Focused Ultrasound
Focused ultrasound uses ultrasound energy guided by real-time imaging to treat tissue deep in the body without incisions or radiation. Multiple intersecting beams of ultrasound are directed and concentrated on a target; much like a magnifying glass can focus multiple beams of light on a single point. Where each individual beam passes through the tissue, there is no effect. But, at the focal point, the convergence of the beams of focused ultrasound energy results in many important biological effects depending on the nature of the tissue and the ultrasound parameters.
Today, focused ultrasound is approved for humans in the United States to treat essential tremor and uterine fibroids, reduce pain from bone metastases, and treat the prostate. The technology is in various stages of research and development for more than 100 diseases, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, hypertension, and tumors of the brain, liver, breast, and pancreas.
About the Focused Ultrasound Foundation
The Focused Ultrasound Foundation was created to improve the lives of millions of people worldwide by accelerating the development of focused ultrasound, an early-stage noninvasive therapeutic technology with the potential to transform the treatment of many medical disorders. The Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that focused ultrasound finds its place as a mainstream therapy within years, not decades, and works to fund research, foster collaboration, and build awareness among patients and professionals. Since its establishment in 2006, it has become the largest non-governmental source of funding for focused ultrasound research.
Focused Ultrasound Foundation