Over 140 attendees assembled for the official Dedication of the UVA Focused Ultrasound Surgery Center on the afternoon of September 14th, at the Jordan Hall conference center of the University of Virginia.
Neal F. Kassell, MD, professor of neurosurgery at UVA, and founder and chairman of the Foundation, noted that focused ultrasound is where MRI was 20 years ago. “In the next 10 years, everybody here will have been treated with focused ultrasound or will know someone who has,” Dr. Kassell predicted. “This new technology has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people – each day’s delay translates into unnecessary death and disability.”
Leonard W. Sandridge Jr., executive vice president and chief operating officer of UVA, described the initiative as “a perfect example of how difficult tasks require lots of people to come together.” He also commented on Dr. Kassell’s efforts in establishing the new facility. “This center would not have been a reality without Neal Kassell’s vision and dogged persistence,” he said. Mr. Sandridge then expressed appreciation to the Commonwealth of Virginia for their $4 million support, and anticipated a gradual move of the use of FUS from the lab to the bedside. “Ultimately, the patients are what this is all about. They will be aided in ways that are less intrusive and this will become the standard of care.”
The HonorableWilliam J. Howell, speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, reflected on Dr. Kassell’s dedication to medicine and the well-being of his patients. “The Commonwealth is honored to be a partner in this exciting new exercise,” he added.
Sharon L. Hostler, MD, senior associate dean and vice provost for faculty development, UVA, noted that the new Center will enable UVA to recruit and train the best and brigh students and to attract and retain star faculty. National and international researchers are ready to work collegially with UVA, she remarked, in a truly collaborative effort.
“In the next 10 years, everybody here will have been treated with focused ultrasound or will know someone who has.”
Neal F. Kassell, MD
James Larner, MD, director of the new Center, closed the dedication program with an overview of the research program that’s planned. He also reflected on some of the medical advances he’s witnessed during his 20 years at UVA: “The gamma knife has come in, lithotripsy for kidney stones, the CT scan, the da Vinci for prostate surgery,” he recalled. “But none of these has the breadth of potential that focused ultrasound does.”