May 2012: Johns Hopkins Medicine CEO Edward Miller, MD, Joins Foundation Board and more...


Newsletter of the Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation
Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation
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May 2012
FUS Foundation Website link alt FUS Foundation Blog alt Foundaion Brochure link alt Newsletter Archives link

Featured video:

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A year after his first-in-the-world procedure, ET study patient Billy R. Williams enjoys using his treated hand for everyday activities that his tremor had made impossible. Filling in crossword puzzles and teeing up his golf ball are among his favorites. Williams remains “very happy” with FUS results. >

Also in this Issue:

Foundation funding awards:
Stanford project receives research award >
Foundation funds pancreatic cancer research >
2012 Symposium:
Inventor Dean Kamen to speak Oct. 14 >
Preliminary symposium program now online >
Essential Tremor:
Sunnybrook treats its first ET patient >
Event honors "First 15" essential tremor study participants >
A year after treatment, Billy Williams still happy with
FUS results >
AANS spotlights final data of ET study >
More news:
Bone cancer studies >
Prostate cancer studies >
Other FUS studies >
New treatment sites >
FUS technology in the news >
Executive changes >
Deadlines and events >
More about the Foundation
Vision and Mission
Strategic Focus
Board of Directors
Annual Report
Johns Hopkins Medicine CEO Edward Miller, MD, joins Foundation board

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Edward D. Miller, MD

At its recent quarterly meeting, the Foundation Board of Directors elected Edward D. Miller, MD to succeed the late David Heller. Miller is chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine, a $6.5 billion integrated global health enterprise and one of the nation's premier health care systems. He is also dean of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and serves as the university's vice president for medicine.

Miller praised the Foundation's progress in advancing the science of focused ultrasound therapy and said he looks forward to contributing to its work.

Read press release >

Donor commits $1 million and encourages others to join the 'focused ultrasound revolution'

The Foundation recently received a $1 million unrestricted gift from a supporter who wishes to remain anonymous and hopes others will also get involved.

"I am inspired by the impact being made by the Foundation and am delighted that my gift has the potential to improve life for millions of people," the donor said. "Focused ultrasound represents a revolution in noninvasive medicine, and I encourage others to join me in helping accelerate the Foundation's momentum."

If you are interested in supporting the Foundation, contact Kimberly Skelly at 434-326-9830 or

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Foundation Funding Awards

Stanford researchers using focused ultrasound in new tumor detection technique

A team led by Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD at Stanford University has received a $100,000 research award from the Focused Ultrasound Foundation to develop an innovative early detection technique for tumor masses. The approach will use focused ultrasound to facilitate the release and detection of blood biomarkers.

As the team's funding application noted, "We hypothesize that MR image-guided focused ultrasound can be used to amplify tumor biomarkers (e.g., protein) in blood and help localize their release site. Ultrasound perturbation of cell membranes will cause an increase in biomarker release; MR image guidance allows for localized application of the sonication and determination of the site of biomarker release." Because the new approach merges in vivo imaging with in vitro diagnostics, the researchers believe it could mark a major advance in the development of clinically relevant personalized medicine.

Gambhir is Cancer Research Chair of the Department of Radiology at Stanford. His co-investigators are Aloma L. D'Souza, PhD, Kim Butts-Pauly, PhD and Pejman Ghanouni, MD, PhD.

Joo Ha Hwang, MD, PhD

Pancreatic cancer study will combine chemotherapy and focused ultrasound

In a joint-press release, the Focused Ultrasound Foundation and Celsion Corporation recently announced their support of pancreatic cancer research being led by Joo Ha Hwang, MD, PhD at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Hwang is exploring the use of Celsion's drug, ThermoDox, in combination with MR-guided high intensity focused ultrasound in treating pancreatic cancer. The Foundation is funding a preclinical study (MR-guided HIFU Enhanced Targeted Drug Delivery for Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer) and Celsion is providing ThermoDox supplies. The Foundation is supporting Hwang's research as part of its efforts to advance highly promising clinical applications of focused ultrasound technology.

Read press release >

View 2011 video with Dr. Hwang >

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2012 Focused Ultrasound Symposium

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Dean Kamen

Inventor Dean Kamen will speak at October 14 reception

While he is best known as the inventor of the Segway – an electric, self-balancing two-wheel human transporter – Dean Kamen holds more than 440 patents, many of which are for innovative medical devices that have expanded the frontiers of healthcare worldwide. Kamen, who is also an entrepreneur, philanthropist and science and technology advocate, will be the featured speaker at the October 14, 2012 opening reception for the 3rd International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound.

Read more >

Preliminary symposium program posted on Foundation website

Daily schedules of events, topics, moderators and panel discussions planned for the 3rd International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound can now be viewed on the Foundation's website. The speaker roster will be finalized in August when abstract selection concludes.

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Essential Tremor studies

Sunnybrook trial treats first ET patient

A neurosurgery team at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto has successfully treated the first patient enrolled in a clinical trial assessing focused ultrasound as a therapy for essential tremor. Funded by the Foundation, the study is open to residents of Canada and is expected to treat six patients. For more information, contact research coordinator Karen Ng at 416-790-0809.

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UVA study patients proudly display t-shirts indicating their "First 15" number

"First 15" event honors UVA study patients

A special gathering hosted by the Foundation in April honored the 15 patients treated last year during the essential tremor clinical trial at the University of Virginia. Dubbed the "First 15," the celebratory event was attended by patients, their families and friends, by members of UVA's neurosurgical clinical team, and by Foundation staff, directors and donors. To commemorate the event, patients received individually numbered t-shirts and a book inscribed by best-selling author and Foundation board member John Grisham. Representatives of the public/private partners that created UVA's Focused Ultrasound Center – the site of the study – addressed the group: Jeff Elias, MD and Diane Huss, PhD of UVA; Neal Kassell, MD of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation; William Howell, Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates; and Eyal Zadicario of InSightec. Catherine S. Rice, Executive Director of the International Essential Tremor Foundation, also spoke.

View photo gallery >

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View video >

VIDEO: A year after treatment, Billy Williams still "very happy" with FUS

Billy R. Williams is proud to be the first patient in the world to receive focused ultrasound treatment for essential tremor. A year after his procedure, which marked the beginning of the ground-breaking pilot clinical trial at the University of Virginia, he reports being "very, very happy" with treatment results. In a video interview, Williams and UVA neurological physical therapist Diane Huss, PhD, say that some tremor has returned but is being managed by a small and well-tolerated drug dose.

View 1-year follow-up video >

View 2011 interview with Billy Williams >

Final ET pilot study data presented at AANS

At the American Association of Neurological Surgeons meeting in April, W. Jeffrey Elias, MD reported final results of the pilot essential tremor study at the University of Virginia. He said that the study's 15 patients experienced substantial tremor reduction and that adverse events were comparable to stereotactic thalamic procedures, including headache, warm sensations, dizziness and nausea. A key conclusion was that MR-guided focused ultrasound thalamotomy appears to be safe and effective in alleviating contralateral appendicular tremor. Elias noted that using focused ultrasound in conjunction with neuromodulation acoustic parameters may prove very effective for people with tremor and other movement disorders.

Read AANS press release >

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Bone cancer studies

Celsion and Philips plan study of patients with prostate cancer metastasized to the bone

Celsion Corporation and Philips Healthcare have resubmitted an Investigational New Drug/ Investigational Device Exemption application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a Phase II patient study. The trial will evaluate a combined therapy using Celsion's liposome encapsulated drug, ThermoDox, and the Philips Sonalleve MR-guided high intensity focused ultrasound system for the treatment of prostate cancer metastasizes to the bone. The study is set to launch following FDA acceptance of the proposed program.

Read press release >

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Robert Staruch

Study shows focal drug delivery to the bone is possible

Results of a preclinical study recently published in Radiology (Radiology 263 117) show that localized drug delivery in bone is possible using focused ultrasound in combination with temperature-sensitive liposomes. Robert Staruch, PhD candidate and his colleagues Rajiv Chopra, PhD and Kullervo Hynynen, PhD addressed the technical challenges of temperature control and drug delivery in treating targets in bone. As Staruch explained, "Ultrasound is more rapidly absorbed in bone than soft tissue, which can result in high, uncontrolled temperatures at bone interfaces. Low water content in bone prevents the use of conventional MR thermometry techniques. Here, we used MR temperature measurements in the soft tissue at the bone interface to control the focused ultrasound heating."

Read news report >

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Prostate cancer studies

Patients experience fewer side effects with Sonoblate treatment

Lancet Oncology (doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(12)70121-3) has published results of a study at University College London showing that treatments performed with US HIFU's Sonoblate 500 System may result in significantly fewer side effects than traditional therapeutic approaches. The trial recruited 42 men with low-risk to high-risk localized prostate cancer and followed them for 12 months after treatment. A key study goal was to determine if treating only specific cancer sites in one or both sides of the prostate would better preserve healthy tissue and reduce side effects related to urinary and erectile function. Results suggest that focal therapy patients have a 9 in 10 chance of achieving excellent clinical results at 12 months with no urine leak, good erections and no imaging evidence of disease.

Read US HIFU press release >

UK oversight agency, NICE, issues guidance on FUS as prostate cancer

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued interventional procedure guidance 424, "Focal therapy using high-intensity focused ultrasound for localised prostate cancer." The guidance indicates that current evidence raises no major safety concerns about the use of high intensity focused ultrasound for localized prostate cancer. The NICE guidelines also state that patients treated with targeted high-intensity ultrasound could avoid many of the risks of more extensive procedures that treat the whole prostate gland. NICE is the independent organization responsible for providing national guidance and standards on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health in the United Kingdom.

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Other FUS studies

Celleration trial enrolling patients with lower extremity venous ulcers

Celleration has announced the launch of its IN-BALANCE VLU (Inflammation, Bacteria, & Angiogenesis effects in Launching Venous Leg Ulcer healing: A Clinical Evaluation) study. The principal investigator is Gary Gibbons, MD of South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, Massachusetts. The company expects as many as 20 sites and 124 patients to participate in the prospective, randomized, controlled study, which is comparing wound healing rates of the company's MIST Therapy with the traditional standard of care.

Based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Celleration, Inc. is a privately-held medical device company that is developing and commercializing a proprietary technology that accelerates wound healing by delivering therapeutic, low frequency ultrasound without direct contact. Its core product, the MIST Therapy System, is an FDA cleared wound healing therapy. Twelve peer-reviewed studies and a 444-patient meta-analysis have verified the system's clinical and economic benefits. The therapy has been performed more than 900,000 times on over 60,000 patients.

Read press release >

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FUS technology in the news

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Ferenc A. Jolesz, MD

Boston Globe covers focused ultrasound

"Brain surgery that's not invasive," was the title of an April 23, 2012 story in the business section of the Boston Globe. The report included comments from focused ultrasound clinical pioneer Ferenc A. Jolesz, MD and brain researcher Nathan McDannold, PhD of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Two patients who participated in the essential tremor study at the University of Virginia were also featured in the story.

ExAblate named one of Israel's top 64 innovations

In honor of Israel's 64th birthday, the online news magazine ISRAEL21c spotlighted the country's 64 top innovations, including InSightec's ExAblate MR-guided focused ultrasound system. Responding to the news, InSightec's President and Chief Executive Officer Kobi Vortman, PhD wrote to his collegues, "As part of the exceptional InSightec team, we are all pushing the state of the art with a vision that we will help millions of people that desperately need help. Innovation, hard work, dedication and perseverance by all of you made it happen. It is a great honor, that on Independence Day, we were selected to be one of the top all-time 64 innovations."

Read news story >

Sonic screwdriver represents new level of control over ultrasound beams

Scientists at the University of Dundee have created a new tool using equipment designed for MR-guided focused ultrasound surgery. Dubbed the "sonic screwdriver," the new tool can lift and spin an object using an ultrasound beam. According to Mike MacDonald of Dundee's Institute for Medical Science and Technology, the tool demonstrates a new level of control over ultrasound beams that can be used in developing new techniques for non-invasive ultrasound surgery, targeted drug delivery and ultrasonic manipulation of cells. The results of the research, which was conducted as part of the EU-funded NANOPORATION project, will be published in the American Physical Society's journal, Physical Review Letters.

Read abstract >

Read news report >

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New treatment sites

New Fibroid Center in Ohio offering FUS

The new Fibroid Center at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio has installed an InSightec ExAblate System and is offering patents MR-guided focused ultrasound as a treatment option. Information provided by OhioHealth, which operates the hospital, indicates that the typical charge for the procedure will be about $7,500.

Read news report >

Sonalleve system will be among advanced solutions installed in new Turkish hospital

In a major deal announced this month, Royal Philips Electronics will install a wide range of its advanced solutions in the new 500-bed Medipol University Hospital in Istanbul, Turkey. As part of the arrangement, the hospital will become the first site in Turkey equipped with a Sonalleve MR HIFU system, which will be used to treat uterine fibroids.

Read press release >

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Executive changes

Mark Carol, MD joins US HIFU as Chief Development Officer

Neurosurgeon Mark Carol, MD, has joined the new management team of US HIFU as chief development officer and will be responsible for continued development of the Sonablate 500 System. Carol's career spans more than 30 years in health care services and in the medical device arena, where he has taken a number of nascent disruptive technologies from conceptualization through commercialization. He holds more than a dozen patents in radiation therapy, neurosurgery and cardiology and is widely viewed as the father of intensity modulation radiation therapy (IMRT).

Read press release >

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Paul Chipperton

Chipperton departs Profound Medical

Paul Chipperton has announced his departure from Profound Medical, Inc. in Toronto. Chipperton, who served as the company's CEO and more recently as its chief business officer, said he will pursue different interests, starting with a weekend lecture series at the Queens School of Business this summer. Chipperton had been leading efforts to commercialize Profound's investigational device, which combines ultrasound thermal therapy with MRI imaging capabilities in treating prostate cancer.

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Deadlines and events

June 1: Submission deadline for Investigative Radiology's special issue on 'Interventional MRI'

Scheduled for publication in early 2013, this special issue will cover new technical developments and clinical experience in diagnostic (e.g. biopsy) and therapeutic (e.g. tumor ablation) MR-guided procedures. All organ and disease areas will be considered for publication. To be accepted, manuscripts must involve basic or clinical research, advance understanding of interventional MR-based procedures and promote their clinical applications. Papers will be peer-reviewed and must comply with the Journal's Instructions for Authors.

June 10-13: ISTU meeting in Heidelberg, Germany

International experts in MR-guided focused ultrasound, acoustic devices, clinical trials, microbubble engineering, thrombolytics, cancer therapy, and drug delivery will come together at this meeting to discuss new and future developments in therapeutic ultrasound. Details.

July 2: Abstract submission deadline for the 3rd International FUS Symposium

Abstracts are being accepted on a broad range of topics, including, but not limited to, translational, preclinical and clinical research for clinical applications of focused ultrasound in brain, bone, breast, liver, pancreatic, prostate and uterine tumors and in back and neck pain. Also of interest is research related to focused ultrasound socio-economic issues, cost analysis, best practices and reimbursement. Details.

August 2: New application deadline for Foundation's Research Awards Program

Due to the anticipated influx of symposium abstract submissions on July 1, the Focused Ultrasound Foundation has extended the next quarterly submission deadline for its Research Awards Program to August 1, 2012. Program details and application guidelines.


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Focused Ultrasound Foundation | 1230 Cedars Court, Suite F | Charlottesville VA | 22902

Questions and comments about this newsletter should be sent to the Foundation's Director of Communications, Ellen C. McKenna (