September 2013: Foundation and Philips Establish Center of Excellence at Institute of Cancer Research in London and more...


  Focused Ultrasound Foundation   Accelerating the development
and adoption of focused ultrasound

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FUSF Newsletter
September 2013
Also in this issue


Symposium President Announcement >
Epilepsy Foundation Grant >
BBB Workshop Report >
Merkin Fellowship Position >
FUS Symposium at UVA >

Next Phase Essential Tremor Study Begins >
Utah Breast Study Awarded NCI Grant >
Imaging in Medicine: State of the Technology >
FUS for osteoarthritic knee pain >
JTU Article of the Month: Predicting FUS Success in Treating Uterine Fibroids >

Ultrasound: the go-to treatment for functional brain disorders? And more… >


October 10-11, 2013 — 2nd European Symposium on Ultrasound Therapy, Rome, Italy >
October 14-15, 2013 — BrainTech Israel, Tel Aviv, Israel >
October 19-23, 2013 — Congress of Neurological Surgeons, San Francisco, CA >
October 24, 2013 — Michael J. Fox Foundation 7th Annual PD Therapeutics Conference, New York, NY >
November 3-5, 2013 — Partnering for Cures, New York, NY >
November 11-14, 2013 — European Association of Neurological Societies Annual Meeting, Tel Aviv, Israel >
November 15, 2013 — TEDx, Charlottesville, VA >
December 1-6, 2013 — Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL >
Foundation and Philips Establish Center of Excellence at Institute of Cancer Research in London

Prof. Gail ter Haar, DSc.,will lead the ICR Center of Excellence


The Focused Ultrasound Foundation and Philips' MR-Therapy business have entered into public-private collaboration with The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust to create a new Center of Excellence (COE) at the ICR in London.

Opening this fall, the Center will be a state-of-the-art resource for clinicians and scientists who are using focused ultrasound therapy to treat cancer. The ICR site will develop clinical evidence in oncology, establish best practices, define treatment standards, create protocols, and train scientists and clinicians. The research conducted in this Center will be universal to the technology and span across cancer indications. The first project at the COE will be a clinical trial to study the use of focused ultrasound to treat bone metastases using Philips' Sonalleve system.



FUSF Symposium Honorary President Feng Wu, MD, PhD

"Dr. Wu has been pivotal in spreading his vision and clinical experience with the technology between the East and the West. He is the perfect role model for our symposium as the leading forum for global collaboration."

- Neal F. Kassell, MD


Pioneer in Focused Ultrasound Cancer Treatment Named Honorary President for 2014 Symposium

Feng Wu, MD, PhD, has been selected as Honorary President of the 4th International Symposium on Current and Future Applications of Focused Ultrasound to be held October 12-16, 2014 in Bethesda, Maryland.

Wu has been a steadfast champion of focused ultrasound for more than 25 years. To date, his teams in China have treated more than 50,000 tumor patients, the largest population of focused ultrasound-treated patients in the world. Now living in England, Wu is a Focused Ultrasound Consultant and Senior Clinical Scientist at Oxford University. He is a leading researcher in the field, having published more than 200 papers. In 2013, he was awarded the International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound's William and Francis Fry Award for his outstanding contributions to the field.




Epilepsy Foundation Invests in FUSF Study

The Focused Ultrasound Foundation continues to expand relationships and collaborate with leading health organizations that share our mission to improve lives. The Epilepsy Foundation is funding a two-phase study to determine if focused ultrasound can be used to successfully treat one form of epilepsy.

FUSF scientist John Snell, PhD, will collaborate with neurosurgeon Ryder Gwinn, MD, and researchers at Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle to study the possibility of using focused ultrasound as a noninvasive and surgery-free treatment alternative for patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy who do not respond to medication. If the feasibility studies are positive, five patients will be treated in the second phase of the study.

"Right now open surgery is the most effective treatment for these patients, but risks include stroke, infection, and memory or speech problems. Focused ultrasound may offer a non-invasive way of achieving seizure freedom for these patients while minimizing risk to cognitive function."

- Ryder Gwinn, MD


Researchers representing 17 different institutions and organizations gathered in Bethesda, MD to discuss FUS and the blood-brain barrier.


Experts Discuss Research Direction at Blood-Brain Barrier Workshop

The Focused Ultrasound Foundation and the Kinetics Foundation  organized a workshop in September to discuss the state of the technology, current challenges, and future research directions for using focused ultrasound to reversibly open the blood-brain barrier and allow the delivery of drugs directly to the brain for treatment of cancer, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and other central nervous system disorders.



Richard Merkin, MD, created a fellowship to foster collaboration between the Foundation and other institutions.


Merkin Fellowship Position Open

The Foundation is now seeking applicants for the Richard Merkin Visiting Fellowship in Focused Ultrasound.

The Fellowship in Focused Ultrasound is open to any mid-career or senior scientist or clinician from industry or academia around the world to work with the technical and scientific team at the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in Charlottesville, Virginia for about 12 months. The position will foster collaboration between the Foundation, the Fellow's home institution, and other institutions and will be paid through an annualized stipend of $150,000.

The Fellow will have an opportunity to conduct his or her own original research project in focused ultrasound and will participate in ongoing focused ultrasound research projects to promote collaborative, translational, and clinical research with research teams at the University of Virginia and other institutions. The Fellow will be expected to conduct publishable technical and pre-clinical projects and deliver 1-2 research lectures.



Linsey Phillips, guest speaker from the University of North Carolina, and Rich Price field questions from the audience.


UVA Symposium Spurs Collaboration

On September 4, more than 100 researchers, clinicians, and students from 14 departments attended the UVA Focused Ultrasound Center Evening Symposium.

Presentations from experts covered a wide range of topics, including developments in MRI technology for focused ultrasound (FUS) applications, FUS-mediated drug delivery, and clinical and pre-clinical brain studies. The symposium also highlighted novel applications, such as exploring the use of FUS to aid traditional immunotherapy and treat osteoarthritic pain (see related story in this issue). This work showcases not only the versatility of the technology, but the breadth of indications on the horizon in FUS research.


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First Patient Treated in Essential Tremor Pivotal Trial

The first essential tremor patient in the pivotal trial for the ExAblate Neuro Focused Ultrasound System has been treated at Stanford, and the study is starting at the University of Virginia, Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle, and Yonsei University Medical Center in Seoul, Korea.

The trial is a multicenter, double-blinded, randomized study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of treatment using the ExAblate Neuro in medication-refractory essential tremor patients. The study builds upon promising pilot studies funded by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation that demonstrated the preliminary safety and effectiveness of FUS in treating target areas deep inside the brain. These studies were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet Neurology.


Information for Patients
Study sites are starting to recruit appropriate patients with essential tremor for this clinical trial. Click here to see whom to contact at a location near you.


"This work is important because the technical challenges that it solves will be applicable to many other treatment areas that require beam focusing and temperature measurements in fat."

- Allison Payne, PhD

University of Utah Awarded $2.5M from NCI to Develop Treatment for Breast Cancer

The National Cancer Institute has awarded Dennis Parker, PhD, and his team of researchers at the Utah Center for Advanced Imaging Research (part of the University of Utah School of Medicine) funding to further their work using focused ultrasound to treat breast cancer. After completing successful initial studies funded by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, the Utah group was able to secure this prestigious R01 award to continue this promising work.

"This NCI grant would likely have not been funded had we not had support from the FUS Foundation."

- Dennis Parker, PhD



Figure from the manuscript depicting the adoption roadmap.

"Since 2006 and the founding of the FUSF, there has been a 70% increase in the number of diseases and conditions being treated or in clinical studies"

Imaging in Medicine: State of the Technology

Scientists at the Foundation have published a comprehensive review of the state of the technology for focused ultrasound in the August 2013 issue of Imaging in Medicine. The manuscript, entitled "Image-Guided Focused Ultrasound: State of the Technology and the Challenges That Lie Ahead," provides an executive summary on:

  • Mechanisms and Bioeffects
  • The Role of Imaging
  • Clinical Indications
  • Current and Future Challenges

This publication can be downloaded for free.



FUS Promising for Osteoarthritic Knee Pain

A recent study from Japan has been published in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. The article, entitled "MR-guided focused ultrasound for the novel and innovative management of osteoarthritic knee pain," describes initial results showing the safety and efficacy of focused ultrasound to treat osteoarthritic knee pain.

The entire article can be downloaded for free on the journal website.


JTU Article of the Month – Clinical Predictors of Successful Magnetic Resonance-guided Focused Ultrasound for Uterine Leiomyoma

Will focused ultrasound work on every fibroid? In the September issue, The Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound published a manuscript that describes the Mayo Clinic's experience in successfully using focused ultrasound to treat uterine fibroids.


Do you have research news to share in our newsletter? Share research news here.

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Ultrasound: The Go-to Treatment for Functional Brain Disorders? In DOTmed Daily News September 19, 2013, featuring an interview with Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD

SonaCare Medical Expands Management Team with Chief Financial Officer in The Herald Online and September 4, 2013

Special Report: Surgery without the Scalpel in DOTmed Daily News August 30, 2013

ExAblate Receives Approval of Health Canada for the Treatment of Uterine Fibroids and Pain Palliation of Bone Metastases: Third generation ExAblate system, using non-invasive MR guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) now available for Canadian patients from Reuters August 22, 2013

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October 10-11, 2013 — 2nd European Symposium on Ultrasound Therapy, Rome, Italy

October 14-15, 2013 — BrainTech Israel, Tel Aviv, Israel

October 19-23, 2013 — Congress of Neurological Surgeons, San Francisco, CA

October 24, 2013 — Michael J. Fox Foundation 7th Annual PD Therapeutics Conference, New York, NY

November 3-5, 2013 — Partnering for Cures, New York, NY

November 11-14, 2013 — European Association of Neurological Societies Annual Meeting, Tel Aviv, Israel

November 15, 2013 — TEDx, Charlottesville, VA

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

Do you have an event to list in our newsletter? Share your event information here.

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Questions and comments about this newsletter should be sent to Susan Klees (