The Focused Ultrasound Foundation and National Brain Tumor Society sponsored a joint webinar on sonodynamic therapy (SDT) for brain tumors. SDT is an emerging, noninvasive cancer treatment using focused ultrasound to activate agents that selectively accumulate in tumor cells and cause cell death.
This webinar reviewed the current state of the field for SDT, including an overview of preclinical laboratory findings and current clinical trials.
Kirk Tanner, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer (CSO)
National Brain Tumor Society
Senior Vice President
Brain Tumor Investment Fund
Kirk Tanner, PhD, is an oncology research leader with two decades of experience in discovery and development projects and programs resulting in multiple clinical candidate therapies and investigational new drugs. Formerly, he was the research oncology disease area expert and senior director at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. As CSO, Dr. Tanner leads the National Brain Tumor Society’s research program, which aims to catalyze treatment development through philanthropic investment in medical research and to engage scientists, clinicians, patients, and care partners in research programs. He serves as the Chair of the Glioblastoma Drug Development Summit, the only devoted meeting for large pharma, biotech, and pioneering academics working to unite all stakeholders under a mutual and ambitious objective of accelerating the practical discovery, translation, and clinical development of safe, effective and deliverable therapies to treat glioblastoma. Dr. Tanner received his PhD in chemistry from the University of California, San Diego, and did postdoctoral training at Oregon Health Sciences University.
Vijay Agarwal, MD
Founder, President and CEO
Vijay Agarwal, MD, has founded or co-founded multiple companies and has raised tens of millions in funding. He is a tri-fellowship trained brain tumor surgeon and is a pioneer in complex brain tumor surgery. Dr. Agarwal has published extensively, including three textbooks based on his innovative work. He earned a BS from UCLA in electrical engineering with a biomedical engineering specialization. After medical school, he completed his neurosurgery residency at Duke University Medical Center, one of the most renowned brain tumor centers in the world. Dr. Agarwal has devoted his life to improving the lives of patients with brain cancer and has over 20 years in the medical device/biotechnology industry.
Suzanne LeBlang, MD
Director of Clinical Relationships
Focused Ultrasound Foundation
With her prior clinical experience as a neuroradiologist and having performed hundreds of focused ultrasound procedures since 2004, Suzanne LeBlang, MD, now represents the Foundation by interacting with researchers, clinicians, and manufacturers to foster collaborations. She interfaces with the medical community at various meetings in order to update the Foundation staff. In coordination with the communications team, she helps increase awareness through oral presentations and articles. She also assists the Chairman and the development team with building relationships with individuals, other foundations, and non-profits. She has published papers and delivered numerous scientific talks in the field of focused ultrasound. Dr. LeBlang received her BA in Biology and MD degree from the University of Miami six-year Honors Program in Medical Education and completed her radiology residency and neuroradiology fellowship at the University of Miami, Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Lauren Powlovich, MD, MBA
Associate Chief Medical Officer
Focused Ultrasound Foundation
Lauren Powlovich, MD, MBA, joined the Foundation in March 2019 and serves as Associate Chief Medical Officer. She brings together key stakeholders and synthesizes and executes cohesive plans to lead initiatives in the advancement of focused ultrasound for several applications including glioblastoma, pediatrics, pain management, and sonodynamic therapy. She fosters education by creating and maintaining the Foundation’s comprehensive overview documents that outline the state of the field for a variety of relevant indications. Prior to joining the Foundation, Dr. Powlovich trained as an anesthesiologist, and she has always been passionate about putting patients first. She continues to have that mindset and works hard to ensure that focused ultrasound reaches patients safely and efficiently.
Francesco Prada, MD
Director, Acoustic Neuroimaging and Therapy Laboratory
Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta
Francesco Prada, MD, is the staff neurosurgeon for the Department of Neurosurgery at the Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico C.Besta in Milan, Italy, where he conducts clinical practice, mainly focusing in skull base/pituitary surgery and neuro-oncology, and research, studying intra-operative applications of ultrasound for the treatment of cerebral and spinal tumor and vascular lesions and advanced ultrasound techniques such as Fusion Imaging for Virtual Navigation, contrast enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) and elastosonography. He is also a former Focused Ultrasound Foundation fellow and serves as an advisor to the Foundation’s Brain Program.