November 2013: Kona Medical's Focused Ultrasound System Treats Hypertension and more...




  Focused Ultrasound Foundation   Accelerating the development
and adoption of focused ultrasound

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FUSF Newsletter
November 2013
Learn more about the Symposium >

Also in this issue


Symposium Panel Discussions Set
New Research Center opens in Utrecht
Foundation Hosts Events in DC and Charlottesville
TEDx Charlottesville

ASTRO: Meeting Highlights
Brain Workshop Summary Available Online
JTU Article of the Month


Company Profile: Kona Medical
InSightec Names New President, CCO
HistoSonics Wins Innovation Award

Breast cancer survivor inspires others and more…


Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)
ESHO Winter School
Kona Medical's Focused Ultrasound System Treats Hypertension

Surround Sound® targets the nerves that
control the renal arteries

Kona Medical's two ongoing WAVE studies demonstrated the ability of focused ultrasound to noninvasively reduce blood pressure in patients with drug-resistant hypertension. Renal nerve ablation with their focused ultrasound—based Surround Sound™ Renal Denervation System produced clinically significant drops in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. For the combined studies, 73% of patients experienced a clinically significant drop in systolic blood pressure of 10 mmHg or more at three months and 81% at six months with no device-related serious adverse events. As impressive as the drop in blood pressure, the WAVE II study also uses a dosing pattern that reduced therapy time from 13 minutes to 3 minutes.




A panel discussion from the 2012 Symposium
2014 Foundation Symposium: Panels to Discuss Issues, Controversies

Discussion topics for our upcoming Symposium, "Current and Future Applications of Focused Ultrasound 2014," have been selected. Academic and industry leaders will discuss:

1. Controversies in Prostate Cancer Treatment: Issues that have arisen include whole gland vs. focal treatment, patient selection, whether to replace biopsy with imaging, and appropriate image guidance modality.

2. Controversies in Liver Tumor Treatment: Panelists will debate ultrasound or MR guidance, the treatment of primary tumors or liver metastases, and how clinicians are dealing with liver motion and the effects of the ribs during the procedure.

3. Beyond Thermal Ablation: A look at the synergistic effects of focused ultrasound ablation with other therapeutic modalities (e.g. radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy) as well as other mechanical and non-thermal effects of focused ultrasound, such as moving molecules crossing the blood-brain barrier, histotripsy, and focal drug delivery.

4. The Path to Commercial Success: Do some companies navigate the regulatory, reimbursement, marketing, and sales processes better than others? What pitfalls and obstacles can potentially block bringing a new treatment option to the patients who might benefit most from it? How are focused ultrasound companies currently addressing these challenges?

5. Disruptive Effects in Medical Practice: A new technology like focused ultrasound can be particularly disruptive to the day-to-day operations of a hospital. Who owns the system? Who treats the patients? And many other questions arise with a new, noninvasive therapy. How are clinicians handling the challenge of competing interests within the hospital to ultimately bring focused ultrasound therapy to their patients?

You have the ability to nominate the panelists! Please use this online form to submit suggestions before December 20, 2013. We welcome your ideas.


Prof. Chrit Moonen was honored

"This event was a celebration of a pioneer in focused ultrasound; the symposium provided an overview of the history and status of the field while spotlighting work at UMCU."

- Jessica Foley, PhD, FUSF Scientific Director


New Research Center Launched at University Medical Center in Utrecht

The University Medical Center in Utrecht, Netherlands (UMCU) has created a Center for Image Guided Oncological Interventions. The opening of the new research center was celebrated on October 18 with a day-long focused ultrasound symposium that honored Dr. Chrit Moonen, Professor of Image Guided Interventions. His work using MR-guided focused ultrasound for therapeutic purposes is now part of the new center, in which MR-guided radiotherapy, MR-guided focused ultrasound, and image-guided chemotherapy will be developed and translated into innovative clinical treatments.

In his inaugural lecture, Dr. Moonen described their future interest in combining the therapy modalities, "The vision is to improve current cancer therapy with MR-guided focused ultrasound, often in combination with image-guided radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery, leading to higher efficacy, fewer side effects, and lower costs."

The inauguration was preceded by a day-long focused ultrasound symposium featuring presentations by renowned international experts in the field. Philips Healthcare, the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, the Center for Translational Molecular Medicine, and the UMCU Division of Imaging all sponsored the symposium, which was attended by 140 participants.

The Foundation was honored to be included in this celebration of the new center and Dr. Moonen's work.


Washington, D.C. supporters met at the Metropolitan Club


Foundation Hosts Events in Washington, Charlottesville

The Foundation hosted a late October reception at the Metropolitan Club in Washington, D.C. A diverse group of guests gathered to hear Chairman Neal F. Kassell's presentation on the state of focused ultrasound technology and the Foundation's unique venture philanthropy platform. "We were glad to have the opportunity to build and strengthen relationships in Washington, a strategically important region at the nexus of research, regulation, and advocacy," said Pamela Minetti, Director of Development.

In Charlottesville, Virginia, an awareness event was held at the residence of Molly and Robert Hardie this November. Members of the local community received an update on progress being made in the field, including exciting new research initiatives. "We are extremely grateful to our friends the Hardies for their gracious hospitality," stated Dr. Kassell. "The intimate setting of their home fostered a spirited exchange of ideas and information."

Both events created goodwill and expanded the Foundation's network of friends and advocates.


Jeff Elias, MD, shared his remarkable research with the TEDx community

Jeff Elias Brings TEDx Crowd to its Feet

The renowned TED conference, which has inspired the world through talks from a range of experts related to Technology, Entertainment, and Design, recently came to Charlottesville. University of Virginia researcher Dr. Jeff Elias awed the TEDx audience of nearly 1,000 as he spoke about the transformational effects of focused ultrasound, including "before and after" video of his patients eating, writing, and reaching while living with essential tremor.

Dr. Elias brought the crowd to its feet—one of only a handful of the TEDx Charlottesville speakers to garner a standing ovation. The audience was made up of TED fans – people of all ages who are interested in "ideas worth spreading." Dr. Elias shared his study results along with a message of the importance of taking risks. He shared how he is inspired daily by his patients, the remarkable individuals who are willing to undergo experimental procedures to improve their lives and the lives of future patients. It was exciting and encouraging to see everyday people truly comprehend the magnitude and impact of this type of research innovation.

The 2013 TEDx Charlottesville presentations can all be seen at the livestream location, where Dr. Elias is the second to the last speaker (click on the timeline at approximately 08:30.00). The 2011 TEDMed focused ultrasound presentation given by Dr. Yoav Medan is available on our website.

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American Society For Radiation Oncology: 2013 Annual Meeting Highlights

The Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) was held in Atlanta on September 22-25, 2013. This meeting is the largest assembly of radiation oncology physicians and researchers in the world. Focused ultrasound has a growing and important role in clinical research in radiation oncology.




Brain researchers are collaborating to discover ways to expand the area in the brain that can be treated with focused ultrasound

FUSF Brain Workshop: White Paper Available Online

Experts who gathered at the June Brain Workshop were successful in identifying major opportunities and challenges for expanding the area in the brain that can be treated with focused ultrasound. Event details, including issues discussed and long-term projects, were reported in our July newsletter.



JTU Article of the Month – Transcranial Sonothrombolysis: The Impact of Increasing Output Power on Clot Fragmentation

Researchers know that focused ultrasound can break up stroke-causing blood clots in the brain ("sonothrombolysis"). In its November issue, The Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound published a study that looked at different intensities of energy to do just that – does more energy improve the process – or not?


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Kona Medical's Founder and CEO, Michael Gertner, MD


Company Profile: Kona Medical

Kona Medical, Inc. is pioneering the use of focused ultrasound (FUS) to noninvasively treat hypertension through ablation of the renal nerves. Renal nerves are located near the renal arteries supplying blood to the kidneys and can play a significant role in regulating blood pressure. Recent clinical data have shown that ablation of renal nerves can result in profound and lasting reduction in hypertension in patients whose blood pressure is not adequately controlled by medication.

Founded in 2010, Kona Medical is headquartered near Seattle, is privately held, and has raised more than $60 million to date, including a recent $10 million to take their technology to China.



InSightec's new President and CCO Robert Sigal, MD, PhD

InSightec Names New President, CCO

InSightec Ltd, a leader in MRI guided Focused Ultrasound therapy, recently announced that Robert Sigal, MD, PhD, has taken the role of President and Chief Commercial Officer. He will be responsible for all commercial aspects of InSightec, reporting to Dr. Kobi Vortman, CEO and Founder of InSightec Ltd.

Dr. Sigal joins InSightec from GE Healthcare, where he served most recently as the General Manager of GE Healthcare France, a unit responsible for all GE healthcare business in France with annual sales of over $400 million. During his medical career, he served as the chairman of radiology and then Executive Medical Director at Institute Gustave Roussy, the largest comprehensive cancer center in France.


"The noninvasive nature of the Vortx Rx® has the potential to change the way surgery is viewed."

- Oakland County (Michigan) Executive L. Brooks Patterson


HistoSonics is Michigan's "INNO-VATOR" of the Year

Medical Main Street, an alliance of hospitals, universities, medical device companies, and bio-pharma companies in Southeast Michigan chose HistoSonics, Inc. as their 2013 "INNO-VATOR of the Year" at the recent INNO-VENTION 2013 Conference. The award is given to the company that has made the most dramatic change in Michigan's medical device industry.

HistoSonics is using focused ultrasound to create soft tissue ablation ("histotripsy") to mechanically destroy unwanted tissue or cells. The histotripsy process ablates tissue without heat, and the liquefied tissue is absorbed or voided without remnants or scarring. Vortx Rx® is the company's system to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH causes an enlarged prostate, but it does not lead to cancer. The unwanted cells need to be removed when they cause irritation or obstruction.

A feature story about the company was included in our March 2013 newsletter.

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MRI-guided procedure tested as non-invasive study procedure for uterine fibroids on November 12, 2013

Israel leads the way in surgery transformation with invention of new surgical technology on November 8, 2013

Survivor becomes a true inspiration on the (UK) October 31, 2013

University of Minnesota Finalizes Second License Agreement for Technology that Could Help Millions with Artery Disease on October 30, 2013

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The 14th International Symposium of Therapeutic Ultrasound ISTU 2014 will be held April 2-5, 2014 at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, NV. The complete program is available on the meeting's webpage. The deadline for oral presentations is December 12, 2013, and the deadline for poster presentations is January 13, 2014. New this year -- a whole day of educational courses, both clinical and basic science tracks, with CME credit available.

The Society for Thermal Medicine (STM) is now accepting poster and oral presentation abstracts for their 31st Annual Meeting, "STM 2014: Expanding Our Range," to be held May 6-10, 2014 at the Marriott City Center, Minneapolis. The meeting will cover all areas of thermal medicine with added emphasis on low to high temperature thermal therapies and ablation methods. The conference will include keynote presentations in thermal biology, nanotechnology, and imaging. All abstract submissions must be submitted online by January 15, 2014.New Investigator travel award applications & abstract submissions are due December 15, 2013.

December 12, 2013 – ISTU Oral Presentation
December 15, 2013 – STM New Investigator Abstracts/ Travel Award
January 13, 2014 – ISTU Poster Presentations
January 15, 2014– STM Abstract


December 1-6, 2013 — Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL

February 3-6, 2014—European Society for Hyperthermic Oncology (ESHO) School, Huntsham Court, Huntsham, Devon, UK
"Hyperthermia & Thermal Ablation in Cancer Therapy"
This multi-disciplinary ESHO school is suitable for those who are new to the fields of hyperthermia and thermal ablation, and for those who feel the need for an update or refresher course. Lectures from well-known experts on biology, physiology, physics, & clinical applications will provide participants with a better understanding of the field, especially outside the areas of their immediate expertise. Ultrasound, radiofrequency and microwave heating sources will all be discussed. This ESHO School will take place in beautiful Huntsham Court in South West England. Participants can register for the 3-day program including full board at the special price of € 500. The number of places is restricted so act fast and register today with Gail ter Haar ( For more information go to Directors: Gerard van Rhoon (NL), Gail ter Haar (UK), Hans Crezee (NL), Mike Horsman (DK)

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