Blog

Cancer and Parkinson’s Disease Research Funding Available from Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP)

Published:
Key Points The CDMRP recently listed several funding opportunities that may be of interest to the focused ultrasound community.Up to $9 million is available for Parkinson’s research, and more than $1 million is available for rare cancer research in three grant programs. The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) has listed several funding opportunities that may be relevant to the focused ultrasound community.The CDMRP is affiliated with the US Department of Defense and fosters novel approaches to biomedical research in response to the expressed needs of its stakeholders-the American public, the military, and Congress. The CDMRP fills research gaps by funding high impact, high risk, and high gain projects that will lead to cures or improvements in patient care, or breakthrough technologies and resources for clinical benefit. Since it was established in 1992, the CDMRP has managed Congressional appropriations totaling $17.8 Billion.Information regarding current funding opportunities for Parkinson’s disease and cancer is below. Parkinson’s Disease Pre-Announcement: Department of Defense Parkinson’s Research Program (PRP)Applications must address one or more of the following focus areas:– Biological mechanisms and biomarkers of non-motor symptoms that could lead to the development of treatments for Parkinson’s disease (PD). Examples of non-motor symptoms of interest: cognitive dysfunction relevant to PD, psychiatric dysfunction, sleep and circadian rhythms disruptions, autonomic dysfunction, sensory dysfunction, and fatigue.– Biological mechanisms and biomarkers of non-pharmacological interventions for non-motor symptoms in PD, such as  exercise, diet, neuro stimulation therapy, and neurosurgical.Funding: Up to $9 million, for up to 4 years, dependent upon award mechanismLEARN MORE > Cancer FY22 Rare Cancers, Concept AwardThe FY22 RCRP Concept Award supports highly innovative, untested, potentially groundbreaking novel concepts in rare cancers. The Concept Award is not intended to support an incremental progression of an already established research project; instead, it allows Principal Investigators (PIs) the opportunity to pursue serendipitous observations.Funding: Up to $100,000, for 1 yearDeadline: Pre-Application: 7/18/22 | Proposal: 8/29/22Opportunity Number: W81XWH-22-RCRP-CALEARN MORE > FY22 Rare Cancers, Idea Development AwardThe FY22 RCRP Idea Development Award promotes new ideas that are still in the early stages of development and have the potential to yield impactful data and new avenues of investigation. This award supports conceptually innovative, high-risk/high-reward research that could lead to critical discoveries or major advancements that will accelerate progress toward eradicating deaths and suffering from rare cancers. Applications should include a well-formulated, testable hypothesis based on strong scientific rationale.Funding: Up to $350,000, for up to 3 yearsDeadline: Pre-Application: 6/22/22 | Invited application: 9/30/22Opportunity Number: W81XWH-22-RCRP-IDALEARN MORE > FY22 Rare Cancers, Resource and Community Development AwardThe FY22 RCRP Resource and Community Development Award supports the development of resources that advance the field of rare cancers research and ultimately improve outcomes for individuals with rare cancers. Major gaps in patient care of rare cancers include lack of communication and dissemination strategies for rare cancer research and clinical findings within communities; lack of therapeutics and mechanistic studies to inform treatment development; lack of research and clinical resources, including patient tissues, cell, and tumor models; and lack of infrastructure for sharing data and other resources.Funding: Up to $600,000, for up to 3 yearsDeadline: Pre-Application: 6/22/22 | Invited application: 9/30/22Opportunity Number: W81XWH-22-RCRP-RCDALEARN MORE >
Read More ...

Foundation Welcomes Four New Council Members

Published:
The Foundation’s Council is a dedicated group of goodwill ambassadors who work closely with the Foundation’s Chairman, Board of Directors, and team to provide advice and assist with raising funds and building awareness. We are pleased to announce that four professionals with a wide array of expertise have joined the Council. Jessica Che-yi ChaoJessica Che-yi Chao was born and raised in Taipei. She received her Bachelor’s degree from National Taiwan University and her MBA from Columbia University. Jessica has worked in different capacities in the financial industry for 15 years, across banking, equity research, and strategic investment. Most recently she was an Executive Director of Firmwide Strategy at Goldman Sachs (Asia) based in Hong Kong. She now resides in Taipei. Rick HamiltonWith expertise in cloud, internet-of-things (IoT) technologies, and artificial intelligence, Rick Hamilton is an Optum Distinguished Engineer, and formerly the most prolific inventor in IBM history. He is currently recognized as the 20th most prolific inventor in world history, with more than 900 issued US patents. Rick now works broadly across UnitedHealth Group’s strategic imperatives, including machine learning, genomics, blockchain, IoT, and cybersecurity, to help people live healthier lives and make healthcare work better. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Southern Methodist University, and the University of Texas. Rick has presented two webinars on behalf of the Foundation. In December 2017, he spoke on “The Rise of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence,” and in April 2018, he gave a “Healthcare Focused Introduction of Blockchain.” He shares, “I’m intrigued by focused ultrasound’s possibilities and have a deep appreciation for the Foundation’s mission and people. I’ve long provided technology advice and perspectives to the Foundation, and I look forward to continuing this relationship in this new capacity.” Harry LesterAfter graduating from Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, Harry Lester served as an officer in the US Navy, and has lived in Virginia Beach since 1970. His career in commercial and industrial real estate was enhanced by community engagement, including chairing the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, the Chrysler Museum and the Hampton Roads Business Roundtable and leading or serving on a variety of other boards and commissions. He served as President of the Eastern Virginia Medical School for eight years, retiring to community activities including Chair of the Lynnhaven River project that he co-founded in 2000 and Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Board of Trustees. Bernice SzetoBernice Szeto has worked in the finance industry for 20 years in various capacities across family office, private equity and investment banking. She currently heads the strategic development efforts at Olympus Capital Asia, a Pan Asian private equity and private credit investment firm. She is also a consultant to a few single family offices in Asia. Her previous roles include Managing Director at Peace Field Ltd., where she headed their placement team and led deal sourcing efforts, and also as the Chief of Staff and Head of Fundraising at FountainVest, a Greater China private equity firm. Prior to that, Bernice was an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs and an investment professional at Sun Hung Kai Properties family office as well as at PAMA, a Pan-Asian private equity firm. Bernice graduated magna cum laude from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a BS in Economics, and graduated with distinction from the University of Hong Kong with a master’s degree in International and Public Affairs. In her spare time, Bernice enjoys pursuing personal growth opportunities and doing life coaching and meditation. She also took a sabbatical from finance to teach at Diocesan Girls’ School in Hong Kong. Bernice currently resides in Hong Kong. She shares, “I am grateful to Shirley [Lin] who very kindly introduced me to [Foundation Chairman, Neal Kassell] when I was looking for non-invasive options to treat uterine fibroids. Through Neal, Shirley, and his team, I learned so much about focused ultrasound, its many applications and its evolution and advancement. I was in awe of focused ultrasound’s ability to improve people’s lives in so many different ways and its potential to revolutionize treatments of previously untreatable illnesses globally. Hence, I would very much want to help the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in continuing its efforts and hard work in the advancement of focused ultrasound and to bring awareness to all those who are unfamiliar with the Foundation and the rapid development of this brilliant technology, especially to Asia. Thank you Focused Ultrasound Foundation for having me on the team.”
Read More ...

Company Profile: Theraclion August 2018

Published:
As Theraclion enters its 15th year of business, it is in the process of pursuing a new indication that proposes to give the company the financial stability it needs to take it into the next decade and beyond. Theraclion executives believe that using focused ultrasound to repair damaged veins is the key to the future of the company. We interviewed CEO David Caumartin, to review Theraclion’s history, learn more about what the company is doing now, and hear about his exciting vision for the future. How was the company started?About 14 years ago, the Vice President of Research and Development (R&D) at EDAP-TMS had the idea to use their prostate transducer for noninvasive head and neck surgery. After completing some initial experiments, EDAP spun off the new company and named it Theraclion. The new company was in development for 6 years before earning its first CE Mark in 2009 for thyroid nodules. They added the CE mark for breast fibroadenomas in 2012 and commercialized both indications in 2013. Their goal was to have two indications before launching into full commercial activity, and the company went public in 2014. Theraclion is based in Malakoff, France near Paris. More than half of its 30 employees are dedicated to R&D and clinical trials. How did you get involved in starting or joining the company?In 2014, I was working as a consultant, and I knew Jean-Yves Burel, Theraclion’s Chairman, from my time at GE. He was looking for someone with expertise in direct distribution and asked me to join the company to use the money from the IPO to move Theraclion from indirect to direct distribution. So I was recruited to drive the direct sales operation, oversee refinancing, and develop new business partnerships. Tell us about your company structure: ownership, lead executives, and their roles.Theraclion is a publicly traded company that is listed on Alternext Paris. Besides Jean-Yves Burel as Chairman and President and myself as CEO, we have David Auregan as CFO and Michel Nuta, MD, as Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Nuta has extensive experience with vein indications. He came to Theraclion from the vein industry, where he worked at VNUS, a radiofrequency ablation company that developed the application for varicose vein closure. Anja Kleber is Vice President of Marketing and Market Access, and she came to Theraclion from Accuray, where she was instrumental in the successful promotion of their image-guided cancer therapies. As Vice President of Operations, Laurence Aucoin oversees service, manufacturing, and applications. Jose Abellan-Martinez is Vice President for sales and business development worldwide. In general, what is the current status of your company?Theraclion is about to go to market for varicose vein treatment. We have completed the initial clinical trials and are waiting for some technical files to be completed. The current plan is to file for both European and US approval at the same time with the same data. The next step will be a phase III study with a total of 300 patients (150 in Europe and 150 in the US) who will be followed for 12 months after treatment. We are seeking investors to secure financing for the phase III clinical trials, and they will begin as soon as that is in place. In preparation, we have already secured 90% of the treatment sites with key opinion leaders in the field. How do you describe your treatment platform?Theraclion’s cutting-edge engineering team developed the Echopulse treatment platform to provide accurate, tailored, and noninvasive outpatient treatment of multiple diseases. The Echopulse “echotherapy” technology combines focused ultrasound therapy with ultrasound guidance and monitoring in one standalone unit. What are some of the technical challenges your group has to overcome to develop a fully noninvasive system? It is difficult to master efficient ultrasound transmission through the body without causing harm outside the focal spot zones. Despite that challenge, we developed a very nice way of understanding how the acoustic energy is transmitted and how to control it under ultrasound guidance with a single element of focused ultrasound control and a single linear element transducer. That has taken some time, but has produced excellent results in the thyroid application. It took 6 years for the first phase of development, but we invested that amount of time and effort to make it safer and faster year after year. Going from the thyroid to veins has been much easier because of the meticulous work that was done when the company was beginning and because of Dr. Nuta’s expertise in endovenous RF ablation at VNUS for 12 years. What are the benefits of your technology over companies?The Echopulse system has always been unique and differently designed as compared to other focused ultrasound systems. Echopulse was designed to be used by any single physician with ultrasound imaging experience (e.g., surgeon, endocrinologist, nuclear medicine, dermatologist, and more). It was designed for simplicity without the need for assistance from a radiologist or interventional radiologist. The system design, especially going forward, should allow any physician using ultrasound diagnostics to treat any indication for which he or she is trained to treat right after the diagnostic confirmation. The patient may not need to return for a separate treatment appointment. Echopulse allows simpler, faster treatment because using our system is similar to performing an ultrasound examination. What challenges do you have to tackle moving forward?Similar to other focused ultrasound companies, Theraclion was initially focused on oncology-related applications (thyroid nodules and breast fibroadenomas). However, these applications take a lot of time and effort and small companies have limited financial resources for conducting large-scale safety and efficacy oncology studies. Moving forward, we decided to focus primarily on developing the indication for varicose veins because there are many more cases (i.e., it is an extremely common condition) and a significant part of the market falls into an out-of-pocket payment model. It is the type of indication that can help Theraclion gain financial autonomy. After we achieve that, we can develop the oncology applications. Last October I presented this development model at the 4th European Symposium on Focused Ultrasound Therapy in Leipzig. ...
Read More ...

Seattle Collaboration Creates HIFUPlex, a New Research System

Published:
Two Seattle-based companies, Verasonics, a leader in research ultrasound, and Sonic Concepts, Inc., an innovator of high-performance transducers, have collaborated to design and build a new ultrasound-guided focused ultrasound (USgFUS) platform to advance biomedical research. The platform, called HIFUPlex, combines Verasonics’ Vantage systems with Sonic Concepts’ transducers and promises premium quality, innovation, and versatility. “This is a productive partnership for our research community,” says the Foundation’s Director of Operations, Emily White, MD. “First, it has the potential to shorten the research timeline because researchers potentially will spend less time tinkering around to get things to work properly. Grant project extensions due to technical difficulties are frustrating when our whole mission is to accelerate the timeline of focused ultrasound adoption.” Jessica Foley, the Foundation’s Chief Scientific Officer adds, “Having these solutions on the market, if widely adopted by researchers, makes it possible to compare different studies for the first time, which could be really interesting. Up to now, most researchers have custom designed research systems, which has made comparison of results difficult.” Verasonics’ Vantage 64 LE, 128, and 256 systems are now available in high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) configurations, which enable both energy delivery and imaging through the same transmitters for flexible and comprehensive exploration with USgFUS. HIFUPlex can be used across a wide range of application areas, including tissue destruction, drug delivery, neurostimulation, neuromodulation, immunomodulation, stem cell honing, and many others. “The Vantage system has proven to enhance ultrasound research enabling the expansion in transducer design and development. We are excited to team up with Verasonics in leveraging the Vantage research system with our transducer technology, providing researchers with premium ultrasound-guided focused ultrasound solutions,” said Kyle Morrison, Sonic Concepts’ President. HIFUPlex offers: Five standard ultrasound system and transducer configurations to meet a range of customer requirements, including variable depths and frequencies, for research and development An easy upgrade pathway from any Vantage configuration and from non-USgFUS solutions using Sonics Concepts’ Transducer Power Output™ (TPO™) system A graphical user interface (GUI), with interleaving scripts that control the major parameters of FUS and imaging “The Sonic Concepts team is considered expert in designing and manufacturing cutting-edge, top-of-the line therapeutic transducers,” said Lauren Pflugrath, President and CEO of Verasonics. “Together, we will deliver the HIFUPlex Portfolio, enabling high quality and broad flexibility in focused ultrasound research that can meet a wide range of requirements and budgetary constraints. We are looking forward to a collaboration with Sonic Concepts that advances and benefits the growing FUS community of scientists.” The two companies launched HIFUPlex at the International Symposium on Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU) May 31 to June 2 in Nanjing, China. Learn more about the HIFUPlex Portfolio >
Read More ...