Recently I attended the American Association of Cancer Research Conference (AACR) in Washington, DC and the topic of personalized medicine permeated the conference. It began with the results of the BATTLE Trial (Biomarker-integrated Approaches of Targeted Therapy for Lung cancer Elimination) during the Opening Plenary Session. The BATTLE Trial is a unique Lung Cancer Trial that was the first of its kind in two ways. First, the trial design was adaptive in that the treatment plan for patients was modified during the trial. Secondly, the trial required that a fresh core needle biopsy from each patient be obtained at diagnosis.

The acquisition of a tumor sample from a patient AND the use of tumor sample’s biomarker presentation to drive the patients’ treatment based on the biomarkers presented on their particular tumor was, well…personalized medicine. And it worked. Both the adaptive approach and the targeting of drugs to specific biomarkers resulted in improved outcomes for patients in a disease that is notably difficult to treat.

I couldn’t help but extrapolate this study to the potential of Focused Ultrasound-mediated Targeted Drug Delivery. FUS-TDD treatments will transport highly concentrated drug payloads directly to a tumor site while providing near-immediate delivery confirmation.The BATTLE study plus the conference sessions on Nanotechnology in Cancer and on Image Guided Drug Delivery fueled my own excitement about the promise that FUS-TDD holds for the future of cancer therapy and personalized medicine.

Executive Perspective: Falko Busse, PhD, Philips Healthcare 

Asian markets are leading the adoption of focused ultrasound, reports Falko Busse, PhD, vice president and general manager of MR-HIFU for Philips Healthcare.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel learned about MR-guided focused ultrasound during Girl’s Day on April 21. (Photo courtesy of Quelle der Fotos: TK)

To encourage school girls to pursue careers in science and technology, Germany celebrated its tenth annual Girl’s Day on April 21, and one of the newest developments featured was a MR-guided focused ultrasound system, Insightec’s ExAblate 2000.

Applications may include epilepsy, stroke, movement disorders, and depression

Seung-Schik Yoo, Ph.D., MBA, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, is in search of a non-invasive method to assess region-specific brain functions and to modify and control aberrant brain activities. His recent neuromodulation research indicates that MR-guided focused ultrasound may provide the capabilities he seeks.

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