Governor Robert McDonnell of Virginia visited the Focused Ultrasound Center at the University of Virginia yesterday. Dedicated in September 2009, the center is the first to receive the Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation’s “Center of Excellence” designation and is a hub for performing multidisciplinary preclinical and clinical research, training and patient treatments at the highest level.

Governor McDonnell said he wanted to learn about the innovative technology used at the center because “medical technology represents perhaps the grea growth industry in Virginia” and is a “critically important part of Virginia’s future.” 

He noted that new medical technology holds the potential to improve the quality of life for patients, cure diseases and improve the economy by creating jobs. “We want to learn, find out how we can support and magnify these efforts,” he said.

Construction of the UVA center was made possible by a $4.0 million grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia, a $3.1 million donation from the Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation and in-kind giving from InSightec, Ltd. and General Electric. The center recently distinguished itself by launching the world’s first clinical trial in which MR-guided focused ultrasound is being used to treat essential tremor.

The UVA Center is also conducting clinical trials using MR-guided focused ultrasound to treat metastatic bone tumors and uterine fibroids. It is offering commercial treatments for uterine fibroids and engaging in a robust preclinical research program for applications such as epilepsy, stroke, Parkinson's disease and targeted drug delivery.

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