Charlottesville, Va., December 7, 2018 – Graeme Woodworth, MD, Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Director of its Brain Tumor Treatment & Research Center, was awarded the 2018 Andrew J. Lockhart Memorial Prize at the Focused Ultrasound Foundation.
The $75,000 award is given to an investigator who has made outstanding contributions in advancing cancer treatment using focused ultrasound and who demonstrates great potential for further achievements in the field. It was established last year by the family and friends of Andrew J. Lockhart, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 39 after a hard-fought battle with cholangiocarcinoma, a particularly virulent cancer affecting the biliary system of the liver and gallbladder.
Dr. Woodworth is researching the use of focused ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier to provide treatment options for patients with brain tumors and other brain diseases.
“My research efforts focus on improving treatments for unresectable, brain-invading tumor cells that cause neurological injury and contribute to the recurrence of deadly brain tumors called glioblastomas,” said Dr. Woodworth. “Our primary goal is to improve outcomes for patients with malignant brain tumors. In this work, we aim to leverage and study the diverse effects of focused ultrasound to improve treatments for these tumors as well as apply the knowledge we derive from these studies to malignancies in other organs.”
“I hope the recognition from this prestigious award results in more patients and researchers getting excited about the study and potential therapeutic applications of focused ultrasound for brain cancer. We certainly need new hope and treatment strategies for devastating brain cancers like glioblastoma.”
Andrew’s mother, Terry Lockhart, and members of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation presented Dr. Woodworth with the award. Following the award presentation, Dr. Woodworth gave a brief presentation, sharing his research and what he hopes to accomplish in the coming years using focused ultrasound technology.
“The Lockhart family has long believed in the potential of focused ultrasound, and it is their hope that it will soon be able to help other families who are dealing with challenging diagnoses,” said Founder and Chairman of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, Neal F. Kassell, MD. “This prize encourages the type of innovative focused ultrasound research that will make strides in treating some of medicine’s toughest diseases.”
Andrew’s parents, Gene and Terry Lockhart, expressed similar sentiments: “We feel that encouraging and honoring research into the ways focused ultrasound can be used to combat cancer is very important. Andrew hoped that support of this research would help to lead to the discovery of effective therapeutic interventions for hard-to-treat cancers like the cancer that took his life.”
This is the second time the Andrew J. Lockhart Memorial Prize has been awarded; in 2017, the inaugural prize was given to Richard Price, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering, radiology and radiation oncology at the University of Virginia. A call for nominations for the 2019 prize will be announced in the spring.
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 focused ultrasound, an early-stage noninvasive therapeutic technology with the potential to transform the treatment of many medical disorders. The Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that focused ultrasound finds its place as a mainstream therapy within years, not decades, and works to fund research, foster collaboration, and build awareness among patients and professionals. Since its establishment in 2006, it has become the largest non-governmental source of funding for focused ultrasound research.