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.

McDannold is an assistant professor in the Department of Radiology and Research Director of the Focused Ultrasound Laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. As a recipient of one of the Foundation’s first research awards, he is studying the safety of FUS in ablating tissue adjacent to the sciatic nerve and to the optic nerve/tract in the brain. This research is expected to contribute to the development of surgical parameters for MR-guided FUS treatments for prostate cancer and brain tumors.

In addition, McDannold has been a co-investigator on two other research projects funded by the FUS Foundation. One explored the use of low intensity and low frequency FUS energy to reversibly modulate activity in a region-specific brain area. The other project, which is in progress, is investigating a localized cancer treatment that uses high intensity FUS to heat tumors and trigger the release of a chemotherapy drug (doxorubicin) that has been encapsulated in temperature-sensitive liposomes.

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