April 2017 - Pediatric Brain Tumor Study Begins and More…

Pediatric Brain Tumor Study Begins and More…
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April 2017


Researchers at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, Florida have performed the first procedure in a pediatric and young adult brain tumor study. The trial aims to demonstrate feasibility and safety of using focused ultrasound to ablate a variety of benign tumors that can cause epilepsy and other complications in ten patients, ages 8 to 22. 


A similar study for adults with epilepsy is underway at the University of Virginia.
 Foundation News

Focused Ultrasound Featured in World Economic Forum Blog


We know sound soothes us. But what if it could kill a tumour? Foundation Chairman, Neal Kassell, MD, poses this question on the World Economic Forum blog. The post alerts their global audience to the potential of focused ultrasound to improve outcomes for patients. Kassell serves on the WEF’s Future of Neurotechnologies and Brain Science council, a team exploring how developments in medicine could impact industry, governments, and society in the future. 


Fitness Centers Raise Money, Awareness for Focused Ultrasound


The Foundation is pleased to be the recipient of acac Fitness & Wellness Centers’ most successful “Work Out and Give Back” campaign to date. Throughout the month of March, people were able to purchase a 30-day membership for $30 at any of the 12 acac locations. In all, over 3,000 people participated in the event, raising more than $90,000 for the Foundation.


Wendel Inspires People to Work Out and Give Back

Phil Wendel has been passionate about improving lives through fitness for decades. Now, the founder and CEO of Charlottesville, Va.-based acac Fitness & Wellness Centers, supports the Foundation’s efforts to improve lives using focused ultrasound. “To know that an alternative therapy exists that will significantly lower costs and make patient experience exponentially better, it was common sense for me to get involved.”


Collaboration is Changing the Medical Research Landscape


In the April issue of DOTmed Healthcare Business News, Foundation Chief Scientific Officer, Jessica Foley, PhD, writes about how the biomedical community is shifting toward a culture of collaboration and what that means for focused ultrasound and many other areas of medical research. She explains how the Foundation is an example of this new trend, paving the way for indications like essential tremor to reach regulatory approval. 


Focused Ultrasound Represented at CIBR Event

On March 28, the Foundation participated in the Academy for Radiology & Biomedical Imaging Research’s Eighth Annual Medical Imaging Technology Showcase in Washington, DC. The event is hosted by the Academy’s Coalition for Imaging & Bioengineering Research to facilitate interaction of policymakers with researchers, industry, imaging societies, foundations, and patients to demonstrate the value of medical imaging and bioengineering technology in improving patient outcomes. 


Prize Offered for Focused Ultrasound Cancer Research in Memory of Andrew Lockhart

The Foundation has established an annual $75,000 cash award that will be given to an investigator who demonstrates outstanding potential to contribute to advancing cancer treatment using focused ultrasound. The Andrew J. Lockhart Memorial Prize was established by Andrew’s family, with the hope that research can contribute to new therapies for solid cancers. 


 Patient News

Parkinson’s Patient Hits the Ground Running after Focused Ultrasound

April is Parkinson's Awareness Month, and we're celebrating by sharing Steve's story of focused ultrasound treatment.

Diagnosed at age 25, Steve’s Parkinson’s symptoms were affecting his career and keeping him from the outdoor activities he loved. Then, social media – and a little digging – led him to focused ultrasound. Now he and his family hit the road in support of Team Fox.


Dr. Oz Highlights Focused Ultrasound at Live Event

On April 1, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Emmy Award-winning host of The Dr. Oz Show, hosted a live health and safety festival in South Florida that featured an educational seminar on focused ultrasound technology. Three physicians spoke on why they are passionate about using the technology and how it is changing patients’ lives. An estimated 7,000 people attended the day’s events. 


 Research News

Immunotherapy Plus Focused Ultrasound Shrinks Tumors

A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight suggests that combining focused ultrasound ablation with immunotherapy in the right order can produce a systemic attack on epithelial cancer in a mouse model. 

Katherine Ferrara, PhD, and her team at the University of California Davis achieved these results in a study that was partially funded by the Foundation. 


Investigator Profile: Kathy Ferrara, PhD

Katherine W. Ferrara, PhD, is a Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering at UC Davis and the Director of their Center for Content Rich Evaluation of Therapeutic Efficacy. She also serves on the Foundation’s Research Advisory Committee and has contributed as faculty during our biennial Symposium.

In this interview, she addresses questions about her career, her laboratory, and her work.


Opening the Blood-Brain Barrier to Fight Alzheimer’s with Immunotherapy

Researchers at the Queensland Brain Institute recently published new work describing their use of focused ultrasound and immunotherapy in treating a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Jürgen Götz and his team discovered that administering a novel tau-specific antibody fragment (“RN2N”) to the brain – after focused ultrasound opened the blood-brain barrier – markedly increased its uptake by neurons and enhanced efficacy. The higher levels of RN2N in the brain reduced anxiety-like behavior in the mice and decreased tau phosphorylation at distinct sites.


Foundation Funded Study Earns Clinical Research Award



The Clinical Research Forum, an organization that tackles the complex challenges facing clinical research at academic health centers, has chosen the use of focused ultrasound to treat essential tremor as one of the “Top 10 Clinical Research Achievements of 2016.” The award was presented to University of Virginia neurosurgeon Jeff Elias, MD, and University of Maryland neurologist Paul Fishman, MD, PhD, on April 18. 


Research Roundup


Two of the articles featured this month further explore using focused ultrasound and microbubbles to open the blood-brain barrier. One investigates how this mechanism affects the microvasculature of the brain, and the other shows its promise in delivering chemotherapy to invasive brain tumors. Finally, a third paper by a group in Hong Kong proposes a new protocol for large, treatment-resistant thyroid nodules.


JTU Article of the Month – Palliative Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer


A collaborative group of international researchers has completed their report entitled “A Meta-analysis of Palliative Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer with High Intensity Focused Ultrasound.” Among 639 patients treated, 567 complained of pancreatic pain before the treatment and 459 patients experienced partial or complete pain relief after treatment. Could this modality play a larger role and offer more patients palliative pain relief? 


Tell us about your research news for our next newsletter >
 Industry News

Theraclion Publishes Two-year Data on Breast Fibroadenoma Treatment


France-based Theraclion has published two-year results from a European breast fibroadenoma study using their Echopulse system. The paper assessed 20 patients with 26 breast fibroadenomas and monitored them up to 24 months. Most patients received a single treatment, but some needed a second treatment six to nine months after the initial session. Fibroadenoma volume, patient satisfaction, symptom relief, and safety and tolerability were assessed with positive and sustained results. READ MORE >

A US pivotal study for Echopulse is currently underway. 

SonaCare Launches Prostate Registry


SonaCare Medical has launched an international patient registry entitled High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Evaluation and Assessment of Treatment (HEAT). The globally accessible, web-based platform for storing data on patients treated with the Sonablate system will collect longitudinal clinical information for assessing procedures, outcomes, and effectiveness. Participating physicians will have access to collaborate with international colleagues. HEAT has enrolled more than 1,500 international patients, and US enrollment began this month. READ MORE >

Medical Device Manufacturers: Learning All We Can from 21st Century Cures


In their April “Device Talk” blog, Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry (MD+DI) describes how the medical device industry is uniquely affected by the 21st Century Cures Act. From a new breakthrough device pathway and changes in review procedures at the FDA to single vs. multi-institutional IRB oversight, these eight bullet points might affect your company or your academic research. READ MORE >

Tell us about your industry news for our next newsletter >
 Media Coverage
Nanoparticle Research Tested in Locusts Focuses on New Drug-delivery Method on ScienceDaily.com 4/12/17

The Technology Redefining Surgery: MR-Guided Focused Ultrasound on MDDIonline.com 4/6/17

Biden at AACR: “What a difference a year makes” on MedCityNews.com 4/3/17

New Method Heats Up Ultrasonic Approach to Treating Tumors on ScienceDaily.com 3/28/17

Focused Ultrasound Scalpel Could Destroy Liver Tumors on MedImaging.net 3/23/17

Uterine Fibroids
The Mirabilis Medical device approval story was picked up by MassDevice.com, DOTmed.com, BioPortfolio.com, Biospace.com, and EINNews.com.

This Tumour Isn’t Cancerous, But It’s Still Very Bad for Women’s Health on Star2.com 4/3/17

MRI-guided High-intensity Focused Ultrasound Therapy for Uterine Fibroids Has Potential on EurekAlert.org 3/22/17

Can Ultrasound Help You Fight Prostate Cancer — and Avoid Surgery? On ClevelandClinic.org 4/10/17

New Tool Means 1 Day, Not Weeks of Treatment for Prostate Cancer on KATU.com 4/4/17 [video]

Clinical Results Support HIFU for Prostate Tissue Ablation after Unsuccessful Radiotherapy on DOTmed.com 3/23/17
 Upcoming Events
April 22-28, 2017 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, Boston, MA

May 6-9, 2017 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA

May 12-16, 2017 American Urological Association (AUA) Annual Meeting, Boston, MA

May 31 – June 2, 2017 17th International Symposium on Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU), Nanjing, China 

June 2-6, 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL
See the full calendar and submit your event >
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