The Symposium’s scientific presentations demonstrated that significant progress is being made in advancing FUS as a solution in many fields of medicine, utilizing a variety of biomechanisms. Here are some of the highlights:
- The results were presented from the essential tremor pivotal clinical trial, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. This eight-center study led to the first FDA approval of a brain system.
- As scientists consider treating various neurological disorders, they are studying the best way to confirm the exact location of the thalamus, globus pallidus, ventral intermediate nucleus, anterior capsule, and other brain targets—tractotomy and neuromodulation are both promising.
- Trials to assess the viability of FUS for use in treating patients with epilepsy, depression, and OCD have begun and will soon be expanded.
- Several presentations of preclinical results demonstrated the potential of FUS plus microbubbles (either alone or in combination with antibodies) to temporarily open the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and reduce brain plaques in Alzheimer’s disease models.
- Researchers are using microbubbles to open the BBB to deliver drugs, stem cells, gene-loaded nanoparticles, or other therapeutic molecules deep into the brain to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s.
- Researchers are also using FUS-enhanced BBB opening to allow chemotherapy, antibodies, and microRNA to reach brain tumor cells.
Cancer and Benign Tumors
- Several preclinical immunotherapy projects are underway in models of pancreatic cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, and renal cancer. Both thermal and mechanical effects of FUS show promise.
- In liver, kidney, and pancreas, histotripsy may offer non-thermal ablation solutions around sensitive vasculature. Beam-tracking, robotic assistance, harmonic imaging, and endoluminal approaches are just a few of the advances that are on the horizon for using FUS in these areas.
- Two ultrasound-guided transrectal systems have been approved in the US for prostate ablation, and continued research will inform patient selection. A trans-urethral, MR-guided system is beginning a US pivotal clinical trial.
- The number and quality of clinical trials for osteoid osteoma is growing worldwide. A registry has been proposed to collect and aggregate these data.
- FUS has rapidly become a first line therapy for desmoid tumors, and researchers are mapping the possibility of treating osteosarcomas, Ewing sarcomas, and neuroblastomas.
- Breast fibroadenoma clinical trials have been successful, and circumferential delivery could reduce treatment times.
- Continued innovation in uterine fibroid treatment, such as the use of combination treatments and developing portable equipment, will improve results and decrease treatment times.
- Kona Medical presented results from their clinical trial using FUS to treat hypertension via renal denervation.
- Preclinical results were presented demonstrating the potential of FUS for treating blood clots, hypertension, arrhythmia, and peripheral artery disease.