ISTU Meeting Includes Six Talks by Foundation Team Members and Funded Researchers


Foundation-funded brain research is featured at ISTU meeting

Data from a pilot clinical trial and three preclinical studies – all funded by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation’s Brain Program – were presented at the June 10-13, 2012 meeting of the International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound. In addition, the Foundation’s Medical and Scientific Director Arik Hananel, MD presented an overview on the foundation activities, programs and vision during the meeting’s “Shaping the Future of MR-guided focused ultrasound” session. Hananel also participated in a lively debate on the topic: Will MRgFUS ever be widely used?

Here’s a brief summary of each talk:

Clinical research: A Phase 1 Study of Magnetic Resonance Guided Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy for the Treatment of Medication-Refractory Essential Tremor – This talk was presented by the Foundation’s Brain Program Technical Director John Snell, PhD on behalf of W. Jeffrey Elias, MD, the University of Virginia neurosurgeon who led the 15-patient clinical trial that assessed focused ultrasound as a treatment for essential tremor. Data showed high efficacy and a low adverse event profile. Snell reported that the talk was well received and precipitated a number of good questions from the audience.

Preclinical research: Intracranial Treatment Envelope Mapping of Transcranial Focused Ultrasound – Presented by the Foundation’s Brain Program Senior Project Engineer Matt Eames, PhD this talk outlined early results addressing the need to better understand which regions of the brain may be effectively treated with focused ultrasound. Eames used a fixed set of ultrasound parameters and performed thermal, MR-monitored sonications throughout one hemisphere of each of two ex-vivo human skulls using the ExAblate Neuro MRg-FUS systems at the University of Virginia. This yielded four volumetric datasets – two ExAblate Neuro systems (220 kHz and 650 kHz) applied to each of two skulls – describing the systems’ spatial efficiency at creating a temperature rise in the intracranial volume (efficiency map for the 220 kHz system illustrated in “juicy photo”). Two additional volumetric datasets will be recorded this year in order to provide researchers with meaningful collection of data against which they may verify their acoustic simulations of treatment efficacy. Initial results indicate that non-thermal sonication methods will be required in order to provide treatment throughout the intracranial volume. These may include the use of microbubbles, blood-brain barrier opening, or cavitation, all of which are actively being pursued by both academic groups and industry.

Preclinical research: Transcranial MR Guided Focused Ultrasound Treatment of ICH – Foundation-funded researcher Stephen Monteith, MD of the University of Virginia discussed the clot lysis studies done in conjunction with Intracerebral Hemorrhage research. This included ex-vivo work on human blood, in vivo on pigs and also cadaver work using an injected clot model.

Preclinical research: MR Guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery for Trigeminal Neuralgia – A Cadaveric and Laboratory Feasibility Study – In this presentation, Foundation-funded researcher Stephen Monteith, MD of the University of Virginia described the results of a cadaver study that assessed the use of InSightec’s ExAblate Neuro System for treatment of trigeminal pain.