February 2018 - A Tribute to Speaker Howell and More…

February 2018

Speaking Up for Progress: A Tribute to the Honorable William J. Howell

The Foundation is pleased to recognize former Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell's pivotal role in advancing the field of focused ultrasound. In January, Howell retired after a 30-year career in the House. He is the second-longest serving speaker in state history. 

Howell has long been outspoken about the importance of public funding in advancing innovative medical technologies, and during his time in office, he was a strong advocate for focused ultrasound. He was instrumental in securing state funding to help launch the Focused Ultrasound Center at the University of Virginia in 2009, and he has supported research and education in the subsequent years.

 Foundation News

Focused Ultrasound on National Public Radio

At CES2018, Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD was interviewed by the host of NPR’s Tech Nation, Dr. Moira Gunn, about focused ultrasound therapy and the Foundation’s work. Started in 1993, Tech Nation is a weekly public radio program featuring noted technology and science leaders airing nationwide on more than 200 public radio stations and on SiriusXM. The interview first aired in late January and is continuing to air in the US and around the world. 


Symposium 2018: Sponsor and Exhibitor Prospectus Available

Don’t miss the chance to showcase your products and services to leaders in the field at this year’s International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound. Our prospectus features a variety of sponsor and exhibitor packages, and there are a number of advertising opportunities to increase your company's visibility at the meeting. These options are first-come, first-served, so don't delay! 


Donor Profile: Fredericka and Howard Stevenson


Fredericka and Howard Stevenson serve on the Foundation’s Council and are passionate, enthusiastic advocates who help raise awareness of the technology. Fredericka is chair emeritus and cofounder of Summer Search Boston, and Howard has served in various leadership positions at Harvard University and Harvard Business School during the last 47 years. We recently interviewed the pair, who shared why they support the Foundation’s efforts and why focused ultrasound gives them hope. 


Chairman Discusses CES and the Future of the Field in Blog Post


Foundation founder and chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD, spoke with Melanie Crandall, head of content at tech communications firm Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, to discuss why CES 2018 was an ideal venue to showcase focused ultrasound technology and where he thinks the field is headed, particularly in regards to the treatment of essential tremor.


JP Morgan Conference Offers Insight Into World of Healthcare Investment


In January, the Foundation’s Director of Operations, Emily White, MD, traveled to San Francisco for JP Morgan Healthcare Week. This annual event is an opportunity to hear talks by thought leaders, survey the trends in healthcare, meet with investors, and help support focused ultrasound manufacturers looking for investment. 


Local Artist Donates Show Proceeds to Foundation


Talented local artist, Albert Ernest, Jr., recently contributed three paintings to an art show hosted by Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, Virginia. The paintings depict rural landscapes using oil and acrylic paint on canvas. A supporter of focused ultrasound and the Foundation’s work, Ernest kindly donated his proceeds from the show to the Foundation. We extend our thanks for his generous gift. 

 Patient News

NBC News Profiles Essential Tremor Patient

Photo: Maggie Fox/NBC News

Tim Dobbyn suffered from violent tremors that made it challenging to work, cook, or even drink without spilling. NBC News followed Tim as he underwent focused ultrasound therapy at the University of Maryland Medical Center. A few days after treatment, Tim says his hand is “rock steady.” 


 Research News

Blood-Brain Barrier Workshop Summary Now Available

A summary developed from the November 2017 Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) Workshop is now available on our website. The comprehensive report includes meeting highlights, presentation summaries describing the state of the technology for this application, burning questions, and evidence gaps for future technical, preclinical, and clinical work. Meeting attendees identified critical outcomes and next steps for advancing focused ultrasound–induced opening of the BBB toward clinical adoption.


UVA’s Elias Receives Innovator of the Year Award


W. Jeffrey Elias, MD, was recently named the 2018 Edlich-Henderson Innovator of the Year by the University of Virginia Licensing & Ventures Group (LVG). This award is given annually to faculty members whose research is making a major impact on society. Elias is the neurosurgeon who led the first clinical trial using focused ultrasound to treat essential tremor, which was organized and funded by the Foundation. He went onto participate in a larger study that resulted in US FDA approval of the procedure. 


Meeting Report: Therapeutic Ultrasound Featured at AAAS Annual Meeting

“Revolutionizing Ultrasound Applications for Treating Disease” was the title of a scientific session held during the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) February 15-19, 2018, in Austin, TX. The workshop proved to be an auspicious opportunity to raise awareness of therapeutic ultrasound with a large and diverse audience of international scientists.


Special Issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery Dedicated to Focused Ultrasound

The February 2018 issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery’s “Neurosurgical Focus” provides an in-depth review of brain applications of focused ultrasound. The guest editors are a quartet of neurosurgeons with expertise in transcranial focused ultrasound and functional neurosurgery. Nir Lipsman, MD, W. Jeffrey Elias, MD, Ryder P. Gwinn, MD, and Julie G. Pilitsis, MD, PhD, chose 15 articles that describe both the history and the state of the art for technical and clinical focused ultrasound research.


Research Roundup


In addition to the special issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery, several other papers are important to note this month. A clinical trial for neuromodulation of the thalamus was conducted at the University of Minnesota, opening the door for brain mapping with focused ultrasound. Physicians share their clinical experience using focused ultrasound to treat various types of pediatric tumors. Patients with cancer pain may soon benefit from a multi-modality approach developed through an international collaboration.


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

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

Profound Medical Completes Enrollment of Prostate Cancer Trial


Profound Medical recently announced that all patients have been enrolled in their prostate cancer trial, TACT (TULSA-PRO® Ablation Clinical Trial). This pivotal study of 110 patients with localized prostate cancer is evaluating the safety and efficacy of their TULSA-PRO device to ablate prostate tissue. The trial involved 13 research sites in the US, Canada, and Europe. All patients will be monitored for 12 months post-treatment before results will be available. 


Insightec Partners with Virginia Tech for Brain Research, Closes $150 Million Series E Funding Round


In a partnership facilitated by the Foundation, Insightec has selected Virginia Tech’s Carilion Research Institute (VTCRI) as its first nonclinical research site for developing new treatment options for brain disorders. VTCRI scientists will use Insightec’s Exablate Neuro system paired with a Siemens MRI unit to study potential applications for attacking brain tumors, opening the blood-brain barrier to deliver therapeutics, and treating psychiatric disorders using FUS-induced neuromodulation.

The collaboration announcement comes at the same time that Insightec closed its Series E $150 million funding round, which was primarily supported by Koch Disruptive Technologies.


Tell us about your industry news for our next newsletter >
 Media Coverage
Medical Physics Web | Ultrasound Stimulates Peripheral Nerves In Vivo 2/13/18

Penn State News | Vidt and Simon to Begin Project Funded by Multidisciplinary Seed Grants Program 2/13/18

HealthImaging.com | Focused Ultrasound Burns Hole in Patient's Brain, Stops Essential Tremor 2/12/18

News Wise | Pivotal Study of Focused Ultrasound to Treat Parkinson's Disease 2/12/18

Medical Physics Web | Patent Application: Focused Ultrasound Modulates Peripheral Nerves 2/12/18

STAT News | Optogenetics 2.0: Brain Control Goes Wireless via Light, Sound, or a Drug 2/8/18

Medscape | Recent Reports about HIFU 'Troubling' 2/7/18

WQAD | Your Health: A New Way to Stop Hand Tremors 2/7/18

Journal of Clinical Pathways | Focal Therapy for Primary Localized Prostate Cancer Remains Investigational 2/1/18

Senior Voice – Tampa Bay Edition | Picking HIFU Prostate Procedure Keeps Septuagenarian in Shape for his 78th Marathon February 2018

Med Gadget | Bursting Oxygen-loaded Microbubbles Near Solid Tumors Can Enhance Radiation Therapy 1/30/18

Neurology Advisor | Long-Term Tremor Reduction with Magnetic Resonance-Guided Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy 1/29/18

 Upcoming Events
February 28-March 4, 2018 European Congress of Radiology (ECR), Vienna, Austria

March 17-22, 2018 Society for Interventional Radiology (SIR) Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, CA

April 21-27, 2018 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, CA

May 7-10, 2018 35th Annual Meeting of the Society for Thermal Medicine (STM), Tucson, AZ  
Abstract Deadline is February 28, 2018

May 14-17, 2018 18th International Symposium for Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU), Nashville, TN

October 21-25, 2018 6th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound, Reston, VA 

Abstract submission opens in March 2018
See the full calendar and submit your event >