Press Releases

Collaboration Between Focused Ultrasound Foundation and Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation Aims to Revolutionize Neuroblastoma Treatment for Children


November 8, 2023, Charlottesville, VA —The Focused Ultrasound Foundation and Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation (AWOCCF) are pleased to announce their first collaborative initiative to fund a research project exploring the role of noninvasive focused ultrasound in treating high-risk pediatric neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that forms in nerve tissue in the adrenal glands, neck, chest, or spinal cord.

Despite considerable advances in cancer treatment, high-risk neuroblastoma presents a significant challenge, with pediatric patients continuing to experience poor survival rates. This research project will focus on utilizing a focused ultrasound technique known as histotripsy in the treatment of neuroblastoma. Histotripsy is the first noninvasive, non-ionizing, and non-thermal ablation technology guided by real-time imaging. Using focused ultrasound delivered from outside the body, histotripsy mechanically destroys tissue.

The project, led by Kenneth Bader, PhD, of the University of Chicago, has two crucial objectives: to evaluate the efficacy of mechanical ablation when combined with chemotherapy and to examine immune microenvironment changes within the tumor following histotripsy. Understanding these changes is pivotal in advancing the comprehensive approach to treating neuroblastoma. Successful completion of these studies holds the promise of not only advancing comprehension of high-risk neuroblastoma but also understanding the effectiveness of histotripsy for improved chemotherapy delivery.

“The Focused Ultrasound Foundation and Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation are united by a shared commitment to transforming the landscape of pediatric cancer treatment,” said Neal Kassell, MD, former neurosurgeon and founder of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation. “By co-funding this project, we aim to bring newfound hope to families grappling with the challenges of high-risk neuroblastoma.”

“When it comes to funding childhood cancer research, our goal at Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation is to fund less toxic treatment options for children with cancer so they have a better quality of life and less long-term side effects,” said Dena Sherwood, Founder of AWOCCF and Mom to 2X Stage IV Neuroblastoma Survivor, Billy, Jr. “It is our hope that this project and our collaboration with the Focused Ultrasound Foundation can provide that for children with neuroblastoma.”

For more information on pediatric cancer, visit Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation.

About Focused Ultrasound
Focused ultrasound uses ultrasound energy guided by real-time imaging to treat tissue deep in the body without incisions or radiation. It is FDA approved in the United States to treat essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease, liver tumors, uterine fibroids, pain from bone metastases, osteoid osteoma, and the prostate. Dozens of additional indications are approved outside of the US. The technology is in various stages of research and development for nearly 160 diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and tumors of the brain, breast, and pancreas.

About the Focused Ultrasound Foundation
The Focused Ultrasound Foundation was created to improve the lives of millions of people worldwide by accelerating the development of this noninvasive technology. The Foundation works to clear the path to global adoption by organizing and funding research, fostering collaboration, and building awareness among patients and professionals. Since its establishment in 2006, the Foundation has become the largest nongovernmental source of funding for focused ultrasound research.

About Arms Wide Open
Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to funding pediatric cancer research, supporting families who are suffering hardship due to their child’s cancer diagnosis both financially and emotionally, educating the general public, raising awareness globally, uniting the childhood cancer community, giving children with cancer a platform to share their voice, and working to ensure that the children who survive childhood cancer, not only survive, but thrive and grow to become emotionally healthy adults.