Focus Feature: Symposium 2018 Highlights


Symposium 2018: Record Number of Attendees and Scientific Presentations Shows Immense Progress in the Field

Last month, a record number of clinicians, scientists, and industry representatives from around the globe convened in Virginia for the Foundation's 6th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound. Still more attended virtually via the livestream. 

Scientific presentations focused on the latest research in neurological indications like Alzheimer's, brain tumors, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, and psychiatric disorders. Cancer immunotherapy, veterinary medicine, and applications for focused ultrasound in the liver, lung, and pancreas were also among the important topics discussed. 

The presentation videos are now available, and a summary document will be distributed in the coming weeks.

Scientific Presentation Videos Now Available

The scientific presentations and keynote addresses are now available on our Symposium YouTube channel. The videos cover the full program and are divided by topic.


Symposium Program Highlights

Dr. Ashish Ranjan

Among the 250 outstanding presentations at this year's Symposium, we've selected a handful of talks as an example of leading edge research in the field.

Highlights include: 

  • A novel system guided by neuro-navigation to treat the brain
  • The first US clinical trial using cancer immunotherapy combined with focused ultrasound
  • A case study of primary and metastatic liver cancer treatment in 40 patients 
  • An innovative, preclinical technique to treat lung cancer 
  • A veterinary study treating tumors and non-healing wounds in canine pets



Media Briefing Addresses Two Key Research Areas


Held biennially at the Symposium, the Foundation’s media briefing offered press, patient advocacy groups, and other stakeholders an update on the exciting developments in focused ultrasound. This year, researchers and clinicians highlighted advances in cancer immunotherapy and opening the blood-brain barrier (BBB). A recording of the event is now available.

See media coverage from Physics World.


Gary Shapiro Discusses Importance of Fostering Innovation

Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA),™ delivered a keynote address entitled, "Why Focused Ultrasound and Other Innovations Must be Allowed to Flourish." During his talk, Shapiro debuted a video featuring Julia, an essential tremor patient whose life was changed by focused ultrasound treatment. The video was produced by CTA’s Let’s Go Humans initiative.  



AdvaMed CEO Scott Whitaker Speaks on Trends in the MedTech Industry

Scott Whitaker, President and CEO of the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), took part in an onstage interview with the Foundation's Chief Scientific Officer Jessica Foley, PhD. He spoke on the trends he sees in the field.

"It feels like the front edge of a golden age for medical technology. You're beginning to see a convergence of traditional medical device technologies with traditional IT technologies coming together to create new and amazing ways to treat and cure diseases."


Mary Lou Jepsen Aims to Improve Medical Imaging with Consumer Electronics

Mary Lou Jepsen, PhD, CEO and founder of Openwater, spoke on the final day of the meeting about her current project to develop a wearable device that could transform medical imaging. She explains, "I set out to put the functionality of a big MRI machine into a wearable [like a ski hat or a bandage]..." using what she calls "the tools of our time: consumer electronics, machine learning, and big data." 


Focused Ultrasound Pioneers Recognized at Opening Reception

Drs. Yoo and Sanghvi

On Sunday evening, two leaders were recognized for their contributions to the field of focused ultrasound. Seung-Schik Yoo, PhD, MBA, of Brigham and Women's Hospital, received the Ferenc Jolesz Memorial Award. Honoring the life of Ferenc Jolesz, the award recognizes and encourages an innovative spirit in researchers advancing focused ultrasound. 

The Foundation's Visionary Award was also presented to technology pioneer and entrepreneur Narendra (Naren) Sanghvi, PhD. This honor recognizes an individual who has created a larger vision for what the future of focused ultrasound may hold.

Congratulations to Drs. Yoo and Sanghvi. 

Young Investigator Award Recipients Share Their Research 


This year, 12 scientists received Young Investigator Awards and presented their research during the Symposium. Eight young investigators gave oral presentations on their data, while all participated in the Tuesday evening poster session where they had the opportunity to highlight their work and discuss their projects with colleagues. 



Global Intern Awarded Top Prize for Early Parkinson's Disease Work


Receiving the highest peer-reviewed rating among submissions from the Foundation's 2017 and 2018 Global Interns, Qingxi Brooke Ma’s abstract, entitled “Effects of focused ultrasound on delivery of intranasal GDNF DNA nanoparticles to the rat brain” earned her travel support to attend and present her work at the Symposium.

Brooke worked in collaboration with Brigham and Women's Hospital and Northeastern University. 


Thank You

The Foundation is grateful to everyone who worked with us to make this year’s Symposium a success.

The Foundation team planned and executed all aspects of the scientific plenary program. The scientific program committee reviewed, scored, and selected the research presented both orally and in posters.

The Honorary Symposium President, Dr. Pejman Ghanouni, and the leadership of the session moderators created a forum for education and collaboration.

And finally, we appreciate the continued support of the sponsors and exhibitors.

Mark Your Calendar for 2020

Our 7th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound will take place in November 2020 in the Washington, DC area. We will send more information as plans come together.