December 2010: Price Becomes Research Director at UVA FUS Center and more...


Newsletter of the Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation
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December 2010
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In This Issue

Price becomes Research Director at UVA FUS Center >

Hoelscher developing acoustic sound maps of human skull >

First FUS treatment for breast cancer performed in Germany >

Cyprus-based Medsonic offers Micro-FUS system >

Adler and Huber join Foundation’s Research Advisory Council >

Audio/slide modules of 2010 Symposium talks posted on CRN >

Nanoporation School set for March 2011 in Haifa, Israel >

holiday imageDear Reader,

Seasons greetings!

As the year-end holidays approach, we offer our sincere appreciation and best wishes to everyone who has supported and participated in the Foundation’s work this year.

Your contributions have enabled the worldwide focused ultrasound community to make remarkable progress, and much more is expected in the year ahead.

Thank you for supporting the Foundation’s long-term goal – saving and improving millions of lives with new, noninvasive MR-guided focused ultrasound therapies. We look forward to our continued collaboration in 2011.

Warm wishes,
The Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation Team

Leading drug delivery investigator becomes
Research Director of UVA Focused Ultrasound Center
Richard J. Price, Ph. D.
Interview with Richard J. Price, Ph.D., Charlottesville, VA, USA

Richard J. Price, Ph.D., an internationally recognized authority on ultrasound-targeted therapies whose research could dramatically change the treatment of pediatric brain tumors has stepped into the newly-created position of Research Director for the Focused Ultrasound Center at the University of Virginia. He plans to expand research collaborations among researchers within UVA and throughout the worldwide focused ultrasound community.

Read full report and view video >

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Sound maps of the human skull will enable
new, noninvasive treatments of  brain disorders
Thilo Hoelscher, M.D.
Interview with Thilo Hoelscher, M.D., San Diego, CA, USA

Developing new treatments for brain disorders poses major challenges for focused ultrasound researchers. While the blood brain barrier is a key obstacle for those developing drug delivery therapies, the skull poses significant difficulties for researchers designing sound-based treatments.

In a FUS Foundation-sponsored project, Thilo Hoelscher, M.D., a neurologist and professor of Neuroscience and Radiology at the University of California, San Diego, is addressing essential issues involved in directing sound waves through the skull.

Read full report and view video >

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First German breast cancer patient treated
with MR-guided focused ultrasound

Dr. Roland Kindinger has announced that the first breast cancer patient has been treated with MR-guided focused ultrasound at Ruhr-University Bocham. The patient is participating in a cooperative clinical study involving Ruhr-University Bochum and the Breast Center of the Clinic for Gynecology and Obstetrics at Augusta Kranken Anstalten Bochum.

According to Kindinger, the first treatment was performed November 4 on a patient with invasive ductal breast cancer. He said a second patient was scheduled to receive MR-guided focused ultrasound treatment on December 3.

“We will proceed in our study and will hopefully present our preliminary results after therapy of further candidates,” Kindinger noted.

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Vendor profile: Cyprus-based Medsonic offers micro-FUS system
Micro-FUS system

Founded in 2005, Medsonic, Ltd., specializes in the design of MR-guided focused ultrasound systems for research and for treating cancer in the brain, liver and kidney. The company is also developing a system for the treatment of stroke. Initially, the Cyprus-based Medsonic was located at the Hermis Research and Incubator Center in Nicosia and is now located in Limassol.

Medsonic has eight employees and has received seven research grants in the area of high intensity focused ultrasound. In 2008, the company won the Cyprus Entrepreneur competition and the MedTech competition organized by the European commission.

Christakis Damianou, Ph. D.

According to Christakis Damianou, Ph.D., Medsonic developed the first micro-FUS system for animal experiments and reported that development at the 2008 Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery conference  in Barcelona. (See  C. Damianou, et al.  ‘Thermal ablation system using High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) and guided by MRI.’)

Medsonic’s micro-FUS system consists of software, electronics and an MRI-compatible transducer and robot that can be placed on the MRI table of any commercial scanner. According to Damianou, the company has sold two original versions of its system and one unit with an updated design. “ We have recently developed a hand-driven micro-FUS system which costs only $900 US,” he reports.

More information about Medsonic is available on the company’s website or can be obtained by emailing Damianou at

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Adler and Huber join Foundation’s Research Advisory Council

John R. Adler, Jr., M.D. and Peter E. Huber, M.D., Ph.D. have joined the Foundation's Research Advisory Council (RAC).

John R.Adler, Jr., M.D.

Adler is a renowned neurosurgeon, professor of Neurosurgery and Radiation Oncology at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. He is also past CEO, chairman and founder of CyberKnife manufacturer, Accuray, Inc. Adler joined Varian Medical Systems in March 2010 as Vice President and Chief of New Clinical Applications. In his new position, he is guiding the development of Varian’s next-generation clinical products and applications for radiosurgery and other new treatments.  

Peter E. Huber, M.D.

Huber serves as professor and head of the Radiation Oncology Division at the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum – DKFZ)  in Heidelberg. Involved in preclinical and clinical ultrasound cancer therapy since 1990, he is recognized for his pioneering work in ultrasound cavitation research and its bioeffects in cancer, MR-guided focused ultrasound, ultrasound in­duced gene therapy and ultrasound induced cell signaling. Currently, Huber is involved in ultrasound indu­ced blood brain barrier research for targeted drug delivery using new an­ticancer antibodies that target signa­ling of EGFR, TGFbeta, CTGF, integrins and others.

The RAC is an independent panel of experts and thought leaders from academia, industry and government. Members evaluate research proposals and help the Foundation identify projects with high potential to advance the field of MR-guided focused ultrasound and accelerate the availability of new patient treatments.

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Videos of 2010 Symposium talks
posted on Foundation’s CRN site

The Foundation’s Collaborative Research Network (CRN) has posted videos containing audio tracks and slides for nearly 70 presentations given at the 2nd International Symposium on MR-guided Focused ultrasound.

The CRN is open to members of the scientific, academic and medical communities who are engaged in preclinical, clinical and translational research of focused ultrasound applications.

Access/ Join CRN >

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Nanoporation Spring School set for March 2011 in Haifa, Israel

A training program that seeks to expedite the development of targeted cancer therapies using nanoporation and MR-guided focused ultrasound has been scheduled for March 27 through April 1, 2011 in Haifa, Israel.

Sponsored by the University of Dundee, CapsuTech and InSightec, the first Nanoporation Spring School will offer advanced training and development to four early stage and 12 experienced researchers from partner organizations and from the worldwide focused ultrasound community. The school’s key objectives are to:

  1. Create a core group of career researchers in nanoporation by providing multi-disciplinary training and cutting-edge methodologies;
  2. Develop low energy ultrasound, focused, targeted local sonication protocols that will increase the permeability of cancer cells and release active therapeutics from nanocapsules and other drug carriers;
  3. Significantly enhance (by several orders of magnitude) the uptake of known anti-cancer agents following systemic administration and limit this increased uptake only to the tumor cell population using novel ultrasound.

More information about the Nanoporation Spring School >

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