Focus Feature: 2020 State of the Field Report

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September 17, 2020
Focus Feature: 2020 State of the Field Report
2020 State of the Field Report Now Available

Each year, the Foundation team surveys stakeholders to assess the field of focused ultrasound around the world. The newly released 2020 State of the Field Report documents the progress that is only possible through the hard work, time, and resources of everyone in our community.

New this year, the report provides a more in-depth analysis of key areas of research, including transducer design and image guidance in technical research, and mechanisms of action. The report also provides commercialization figures and a detailed look at the state of global regulatory approvals by geographic region.

Read on for key highlights from the report. 
In the Report
Focused Ultrasound Research in 2019: By the Numbers

In 2019, researchers began investigating focused ultrasound to address nine new indications. Meanwhile, seven indications progressed to first-in-human clinical trials, and two conditions earned regulatory approval.  
1Treatment of the underlying cause of the disease


Patient Treatments: Women’s Health and Cancer Outpace the Field

In 2019, there were more than 60,000 patients treated using focused ultrasound.* While most of these procedures were for benign uterine fibroids, 47 percent of treatments during this period were for various forms of cancer.  

*Manufacturer-supplied data. The number of patient treatments reported is lower than the actual number of procedures because of incomplete reporting from manufacturers and treatment sites.


New Techniques in Focused Ultrasound Brain Research

Depending on the parameters used, focused ultrasound can produce different biological effects – or mechanisms of action – within tissue. Much of this research in the brain is early-stage, but we expect to see this field evolve immensely in the coming years.  

Regulatory Approval Trends by Region

European and Asian regulatory bodies have approved focused ultrasound to treat a variety of indications at a steady rate since the early 2000s, and these regions continue to lead the rest of the world.  

Worldwide Growth of the Focused Ultrasound Industry

In the charts below, each company is listed along with the year it became involved with the focused ultrasound field. In the last decade, 45 companies – including device manufacturers, OEM suppliers, microbubble companies, and more – have either been founded or transitioned resources to advance focused ultrasound. 

Major Companies Invest in Focused Ultrasound

While investment in the field was down in 2019 compared to the previous year, it is notable that we saw the first investments by two major stakeholders in the medical device space—Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Varian Medical Systems. 
*Figures provided are in millions.