Press Releases

Foundation Partnering with CRI to Advance Cancer Immunotherapy


Charlottesville, VA – June 22, 2017 – The Focused Ultrasound Foundation (FUSF) and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) are establishing a partnership with the goal of advancing the development of new focused ultrasound (FUS) and cancer immunotherapy treatments. Both organizations recognize the intersection of the latest developments in FUS therapy and cancer immunotherapy offers a highly promising opportunity for combination approaches to treat a variety of cancers.

“This partnership formalizes a long-standing relationship between CRI and the Focused Ultrasound Foundation,” said Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D., chief executive officer and director of scientific affairs at CRI. “We have previously co-sponsored workshops, promoted awareness of opportunities in this field, and co-funded research. Our goal at CRI is to accelerate the field of cancer immunotherapy, and we believe that focused ultrasound is a valuable tool that could increase efficacy.”

As a key component of the partnership, CRI and FUSF will establish a joint fund to support research to move towards new combination therapies. A panel of advisors with expertise in FUS and cancer immunology/immunotherapy will determine critical unanswered research questions. A request for applications (RFA) will then be issued to encourage future projects to address these knowledge gaps. After review and assessment, FUSF and CRI will share the costs of funding the chosen project(s); CRI will administer the grants within this joint program.

Chief scientific officer at FUSF, Jessica Foley, Ph.D., said, “We are incredibly excited about this partnership. Drawing on the expertise of our two organizations and our diverse research communities, we expect to advance more streamlined and rigorous research that will enable quicker progress toward clinical trials, while also enabling better standardization in the field and increased consistency of protocols.”

About the Cancer Research Institute
The Cancer Research Institute, established in 1953, is the world’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to transforming cancer patient care by advancing scientific efforts to develop new and effective immune system-based strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat, and eventually cure all cancers. Guided by a world-renowned Scientific Advisory Council that includes three Nobel laureates and 26 members of the National Academy of Sciences, CRI has invested $344 million in support of research conducted by immunologists and tumor immunologists at the world’s leading medical centers and universities, and has contributed to many of the key scientific advances that demonstrate the potential for immunotherapy to change the face of cancer treatment. To learn more, go to

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.

About Cancer Immunotherapy
Cancer immunotherapies are agents that harness the power of the immune system to fight cancer. Unlike traditional cancer treatments that directly kill tumor cells (such as chemotherapy and radiation), immunotherapy operates through the intermediary of the immune system. Immunotherapies empower the immune system to specifically seek out and destroy cancer cells. Because of the immune system’s extraordinary power to selectively target cancer antigens and adapt to a changing landscape of antigens, this approach has the potential to greatly improve cancer treatment, providing durable, long-term responses in many cases.

About Focused Ultrasound
Multiple intersecting beams of ultrasound are directed and concentrated on a target; much like a magnifying glass can focus beams of light on a single point to burn a hole in a leaf. Where each individual beam passes through the tissue, there is no effect. But, at the focal point, the beams of ultrasound energy can produce many important biological effects. Today, focused ultrasound is approved in the United States to treat essential tremor, uterine fibroids, and the prostate, as well as reduce pain from bone metastases. The technology is also being studied for more than 75 other diseases, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, hypertension, and tumors of the brain, liver, breast, and pancreas. Focused ultrasound has certain attributes that create the potential for a unique role in cancer immunotherapy when compared to the other modalities, and several preclinical and clinical studies have demonstrated that FUS can elicit an immune response. Read more

Media Contacts:
Wes Myhre
Focused Ultrasound Foundation

(434) 284-9285

Brian Brewer
Cancer Research Institute

(212) 688-7515 x 242

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