Gail ter Haar Draws a Crowd at FDA to Discuss FUS Quality Assurance and Standardization


Focused ultrasound physics pioneer Professor Gail ter Haar, head of the Foundation’s Center of Excellence at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London, traveled with Foundation staff to Washington to deliver a presentation to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on her team’s work in quality assurance and standardization of high intensity focused ultrasound.

Her talk attracted more than 70 members of the FDA scientific and clinical regulatory staff, either in person or via webcast. Following the talk, she toured the laboratories of the Ultrasonics group within the Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories, where she and the team discussed the challenges of acoustic measurements and potential collaborative opportunities.

Prof. ter Haar also visited the offices of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (an institute of the National Institutes of Health), where she spoke to a group of program officers about her team’s efforts in bringing new image-guided focused ultrasound devices to the clinic. Discussions that followed addressed the challenges as well as the potential future clinical applications for this work.

In Charlottesville, Prof. ter Haar updated the Foundation team on recent work at the ICR Center of Excellence. The Foundation also sponsored a talk at the University of Virginia, where ter Haar spoke about the ICR’s development of an ultrasound-guided focused ultrasound system from “bench to bedside.” More than 50 students and clinicians, including interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, and biomedical engineers, learned about the ICR’s work to create a system devoted to treating the liver, while overcoming organ-specific hurdles.

Her team experienced great success with the use of their custom-built device and logged countless hours developing and ing patient and treatment flow protocols. Though the research is early stage, ter Haar believes their findings are a first in this technique. “I think this type of research is essential in moving focused ultrasound from an art into being a science,” she said.