Field of Focused Ultrasound Surpasses 100 Clinical Indications in 2017


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A message from our Chairman

The past year has brought with it many notable achievements, but one milestone best exemplifies the immense progress in the field. There are now more than 100 clinical indications for which focused ultrasound is in various stages of research, development, and commercialization. This is an astonishing increase from the handful that existed when the Foundation was founded in 2006.

Counted among those indications are Alzheimer’s disease and pediatric brain tumors, both of which marked their first-in-human treatments this year. Another pioneering trial is the first to combine focused ultrasound and cancer immunotherapy to treat metastatic breast cancer.

The field is not only increasing in size and scope, but it is also maturing as the focus expands beyond research into commercialization. This shift brings new challenges, including developing robust scientific evidence of long-term safety, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness to support regulatory approvals and reimbursement.

The Foundation continues to drive growth in the field, thanks to the involvement of our donors, board, and council and the dedication of our team. Our research program is thriving with an emphasis on brain indications, cancer, and cancer immunotherapy. We also launched a veterinary program this year to expand focused ultrasound’s reach into pet medicine. Our hope is to create a win-win scenario where veterinarians will have new, innovative therapies to offer their patients, and insights gained in dogs and cats will help inform clinical trial design in humans.

We now find that in such a robust field, our challenge is to maintain focus and devote our finite resources on high-value targets. We are constantly analyzing the field to prioritize the mechanisms of action that are most likely to translate into new applications and the clinical indications that are most likely to provide true, unique value.

Looking ahead to 2018, we have an exceptional opportunity to raise awareness for the technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, which is attended by more than 180,000 people. We are also preparing for our 6th International Symposium at the end of October, which is likely to be our largest to date.

None of this would have been possible without the generous support of our donors who have become partners in the pursuit of our vision that focused ultrasound will one day be used to improve the lives of millions of patients around the world suffering from a broad spectrum of serious medical disorders.

Thank you, and be well.
Neal F. Kassell, MD