December 2018 - A Year of Progress and More News…

December 2018

A Year of Progress and a Sharpened Focus for 2019


Wow. Amazing. 
These are the two most common words we hear when people learn about focused ultrasound for the first time. 

But what is most amazing to me is that the field of focused ultrasound has grown more rapidly than any of us ever could have imagined. And as the number of potential applications increases, the amount of work required to translate our vision into reality becomes daunting.

 Foundation News

University of Maryland Researcher Receives 2018 Lockhart Prize

The Foundation and the Lockhart family recently presented Graeme Woodworth, MD, Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, with the 2018 Andrew J. Lockhart Memorial Prize. Created in memory of Andrew Lockhart, who passed away from a rare abdominal cancer, the $75,000 award is given to an investigator who has made outstanding contributions in advancing cancer treatment using focused ultrasound and demonstrates great potential for further achievements in the field. 

VIDEO: Dr. Woodworth Discusses his Research >

Shirley Lin, PhD, Elected to Foundation Board

Syaru Shirley Lin, PhD, has been elected to the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Previously a partner at Goldman Sachs, Lin led the firm's efforts in private equity and venture capital in Asia. She was also a founding board member of Alibaba Group and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation. Lin hopes to leverage her experience in finance and understanding of Asia to help the Foundation further progress there. 


Foundation to Sponsor Students to Attend Winter School

The 2019 Winter School on Therapeutic Ultrasound will be held March 3-8 in Les Houches, France. The School features lectures from esteemed researchers in the field and offers an excellent opportunity for students and early career professionals to meet and connect with veterans in focused ultrasound. This year, the Foundation will sponsor a limited number of students to attend the Winter School.


Blog: Jill O'Donnell-Tormey on the Promise of Cancer Immunotherapy and Focused Ultrasound

Jill O'Donnell-Tormey, PhD, is chief executive officer and director of scientific affairs at the Cancer Research Institute (CRI). In 2017, CRI and the Focused Ultrasound Foundation partnered with the goal of advancing the development of new focused ultrasound and cancer immunotherapy treatments. In June, that partnership awarded its first research grant for developing new combination therapies. Dr. O’Donnell-Tormey discussed the partnership onstage at the recent Symposium


 Research News

FDA Approves Focused Ultrasound Therapy for Tremor-Dominant Parkinson’s Disease


Device manufacturer Insightec announced that their Exablate Neuro device has earned approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to treat patients with Parkinson’s disease whose main symptom is tremor. This approval was based on a clinical trial of 27 patients at the University of Virginia and Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle. The results of that study, which was funded in part by the Foundation, were published in JAMA Neurology in December 2017. 

See Media Coverage from NeuroNews and Compelo.

Sunnybrook and Gairdner Foundation Host Focused Ultrasound Symposium


Sunnybrook Research Institute, the research enterprise of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and the Gairdner Foundation, an organization that recognizes and rewards international excellence in fundamental research that impacts human health, recently hosted a two-day symposium entitled "Changing Medicine Forever" to explore advances in focused ultrasound to treat the brain. The Focused Ultrasound Foundation helped sponsor the event, and all of the presenters at the conference were researchers that the Foundation supports or has supported through our research awards program.

See media coverage from CBC and CTV >

White Paper Now Available for Parkinson’s Disease BBB Workshop


On October 21, experts gathered for a Foundation-sponsored workshop to discuss the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and Parkinson’s disease. More than 30 participants from healthcare, industry, academia, government, and the Foundation identified opportunities and challenges for delivering therapeutic agents across the BBB to find new and innovative treatment options for Parkinson’s. A summary of the workshop’s major outcomes is now available. The Foundation is grateful for the work of Drs. Paul Fishman and Nir Lipsman, who organized and led the workshop. 


Five Focused Ultrasound Pioneers Recognized with Awards


As the focused ultrasound field grows, an increasing number of pioneering researchers are being recognized for their innovative work to advance this technology. Recent award recipients include Frank Wolfram, PhD, Kullervo Hynynen, PhD, Charles Cain, PhD, Elisa Konofagou, PhD, and Yun Jing, PhD. We ask the community to please notify us of future awards that we should acknowledge.  


4th Quarter Research Award


The Foundation’s External Awards Program has selected a new project for funding in the final quarter of 2018. Alan Verkman, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Physiology in the Department of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, will conduct a study entitled, “Focused ultrasound for therapy of neuromyelitis optica – an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system.” Dr. Verkman and his research team seek to determine whether they can deliver antibody and cell therapeutics across the blood-brain barrier to reduce neuroinflammation and promote remyelination in this disease.


Foundation-Funded Research Update – A New MR Coil for Focused Ultrasound Brain Applications


The Foundation recently funded a study by Kim Butts Pauly, PhD, and her colleagues at Stanford University to design and fabricate a coil system that could deliver faster and clearer imaging in brain treatments. In “Neuro Focused Ultrasound MR Coil Fabrication and Testing,” the team set out to optimize sensitivity at the focus of the transducer, maintain a low profile, and overcome graphite-induced dielectric artifact. 


New Courses Available for Therapeutic Ultrasound MOOC


In September, we introduced a free, online course organized by the team at Laboratory of Therapeutic Applications of Ultrasound (LabTAU) in collaboration with the Foundation. The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is made up of 12 unique presentations by world renowned experts in the field. The first seven of those presentations are now available, covering topics such as neurological indications, beam focusing, prostate ablation, and drug delivery. We will announce future presentations as they are released. 


Meeting Report: TAITU 2018


The 3rd annual meeting of Taiwan Association of Interventional and Therapeutic Ultrasound (TAITU) was held November 25, at Taiwan University Public Health College following the society’s mayoral and magisterial elections the previous day. With a theme of “State of the Art in Asia: Interventional and Therapeutic Ultrasound,” the sessions were dedicated in loving memory of Professor Fon-Jou Hsieh (1946-2018), a renowned Taiwanese obstetrician who pioneered the use of diagnostic and therapeutic ultrasound and founded TAITU.


Meeting Report: RSNA 2018


Radiologists from around the world gathered in Chicago November 25-30, for the 104th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). The program featured 14 focused ultrasound abstracts, which covered bone, cancer, women’s health, and prostate applications. 


Research Roundup


Which drugs or biological molecules might be best suited for delivery across the blood-brain barrier? Have researchers successfully developed a new technique that will make neuromodulation a clinical possibility? Could a new ablation approach reduce the time it takes to treat benign breast lesions while maintaining safety and efficacy? The answers to these questions can be found in this month’s Research Roundup.


For a full list of this month’s research, visit our free, online research library of focused ultrasound publications.

Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound to Close



The Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound (JTU) will close at the end of the year and is no longer accepting submissions. But don’t miss the JTU’s last few published articles.

Moving forward, all articles will be archived and fully searchable.

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

CarThera Closes Successful Funding Round

French manufacturer CarThera recently closed a Series B funding round, raising €9M (over $10.2 million). Carthera produces Sonocloud, an implantable focused ultrasound device intended to disrupt a larger portion of the blood-brain barrier than has been demonstrated with transcranial approaches. The company will use the Series B funding to further clinical development of its technology for brain cancer (glioblastoma) and other brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.


Insightec Announces CE Clearance for Siemens Scanners, New Hires

Insightec’s Exablate Neuro device has earned the CE mark to integrate with Siemens Healthineers MR imaging products. The CE mark includes approval for treatment of medication-refractory essential tremor, tremor-dominant Parkinson’s disease, and neuropathic pain. The FDA approved this collaboration between the two companies’ products in October.  

Insightec also announced two additions to its executive management team. Dr. Arjun Desai will be Chief Strategic Innovation Officer, and Jack Campo will fill the role of Chief Legal & Business Development Officer.

Tell us about your industry news for our next newsletter >
 Media Coverage
Onc Live | Focal Therapy Evolves Into More Precise Treatment in Prostate Cancer 12/12/18

Shine (China) | New Treatment for Most Prevalent Tumor in Women 12/11/18

Physics World | Ultrasound-activated Nanoparticles Provide Targeted Control of Brain Activity 12/10/18

Colorado Springs Gazette | Colorado Springs Parkinson's Sufferer 'Won the Lottery' with Experimental Treatment 12/9/18

Parkinson’s News Today | Focused-ultrasound Lesion Surgery Can Treat Tremors and Improve Life Quality, Study Says 12/5/18

King 5 NBC Seattle | Non-surgical Treatment for Essential Tremor Now Available in the Pacific Northwest 12/5/18 [video]

Baylor College of Medicine | New Biomedical Research Projects Address Space Health Risks 12/4/18

Alzheimer’s News Today | Alzheimer’s Patient is First to Get Focused Ultrasound Treatment 11/30/18

Uro Today | MR Imaging-guided Focal Therapies of Prostate Cancer 11/28/18

CBC | ‘An Incredible Window into the Brain:’ New Treatments Target Severe Depression 11/23/18

Biz Journals | WVU Clinical Trials Target Alzheimer's, Opioid Addiction 11/20/18

Globes (Israel) | Insightec CEO Confident of $30-50 Billion Exit 11/18/18

News on 6 Tulsa | OSU Helping Dogs with New Cancer Treatment Technology 11/16/18 [video]

Contemporary OB/GYN | Adenomyosis and Its Impact on Fertility 11/16/18

Interesting Engineering | Ultrasound Moves Drugs to Alter Brain Activity in Rats 11/14/18
 Upcoming Events
January 17-20, 2019 North American Neuromodulation Society 22nd Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV

March 3-8, 2019 Winter School on Therapeutic Ultrasound, Les Houches, France
March 23-28, 2019 Society of Interventional Radiology Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas

April 28 – May 2, 2019 Society For Thermal Medicine 36th Annual Meeting, St. Pete Beach, Florida
Abstract Deadline is January 9.

June 12-15, 2019 Ultrasound Energy - ISTU and EUFUS Joint Meeting, Barcelona, Spain
See the full calendar and submit your event >