Essential Tremor Treatment Targeting Discussed at Workshop 


Key Points

  • Last week, the Foundation and Insightec held a workshop to optimize targeting protocols for essential tremor treatments.  
  • More than 30 experts joined in person or virtually.  
  • A white paper summarizing the workshop’s outcomes will be made available soon.
Brain Targeting - Focused Ultrasound Ablation for Essential Tremor

The Foundation hosted a workshop on brain targeting for focused ultrasound essential tremor (ET) ablation. The goal of the workshop was to assess targeting techniques used across multiple active sites treating ET and work toward optimizing and standardizing the targeting approach. More than 30 subject matter experts attended the one-and-a-half-day hybrid event, which took place September 13-14, 2023, in Washington, DC, and was co-sponsored along with Insightec. 

“Our ultimate goal as a Foundation is to improve clinical outcomes and decrease the cost of care for patients,” said Matt Eames, PhD, the Foundation’s director of extramural research. “We believe this is best achieved in essential tremor by expanding adoption of focused ultrasound as an additional treatment option for patients by ensuring the best treatment outcome, durability, and side effect profile. This starts with identifying and standardizing the best targeting practices.” 

“For ET, this workshop was critical as we identified the need to share expertise and strategize where and how to target the focused ultrasound treatment,” said Suzanne LeBlang, MD, the Foundation’s director of clinical relationships. “In order to localize the target, various advanced MRI imaging sequences as well as ongoing neuromodulatory techniques with focused ultrasound were discussed.”  

The workshop began with brief introductory presentations, followed by a discussion of six burning questions developed by the workshop steering committee. The questions are as follows: 

  1. What is the best target for focused ultrasound ablation for ET?  
  1. How is the “best” target determined and how can we standardize localization into a method?  
  1. How does the clinician know when to stop – when is the treatment finished?  
  1. Once determined and standardized, what percentage reduction of side effects could be realized?  
  1. Once determined and standardized, what percentage increase in efficacy could be realized?  
  1. What outcome measures should be standard practice in assessing the thermal lesion? 

One important outcome from the meeting was the development of an action plan of potential projects to determine the best target for ET focused ultrasound thermal ablation and create standardized methods for localizing the target and tracking patient outcomes. A secondary outcome was the creation of collaborations among sites to realize the goals as rapidly as possible.  

A white paper documenting the workshop’s discussion and results will be made available soon.