Brain Technical Program Collaborates to Expand the Treatment Envelope


brain technical team 400Scientists from the Foundation’s Brain Technical Program have joined with the University of Utah on a project to expand the range of neurological disorders that can be treated with focused ultrasound.

Dennis Parker, PhD, and his team at the Utah Center for Advanced Imaging Research recently began the study, “Method for Fully 3D Volumetric Thermometry with Application to Transcranial MRgFUS of the Brain.” Its overall goals are to 1) provide volumetric model-based planning and monitoring tools that allow clinicians to overcome current technical limitations, 2) provide safety and efficacy information during treatments, and 3) expand the range of neurological disorders that can be treated.

“Physicians who are using focused ultrasound to treat the brain would like more feedback from the parts of the brain that are not being treated during the procedure,” explains Parker. “Brain tissue is much more sensitive to heat than the rest of the body, and the hope is that the 3D method we are developing will monitor the entire brain simultaneously.”

“Future treatment of brain tumors, epilepsy, and disorders with targets closer to bone will require temperature monitoring of the entire skull for safe and efficient delivery of FUS.” says Foundation Brain Program Technical Director John Snell, PhD.

The focused ultrasound group at Brigham and Women’s Hospital also contributed to this project. Because the needed 3D MR pulse sequence was not available on the UVA system, George Chiou, PhD, created a custom MR pulse sequence that was compatible with the Utah method of 3D temperature measurement, allowing Parker and Henrik Odéen, PhD, to the Utah method on the Insightec brain system that is installed at the UVA Center of Excellence. “The Foundation’s work has created this collaborative community,” says Snell. “Dennis Parker came to Charlottesville to collect the data that we needed to do the post-processing and reconstruction of the model. George Chiou joined remotely with the pulse sequence. This is the type of project that shows how the Foundation can play a role to propel the technology.”