Meeting Report: International Symposium on Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU)


Key Points

  • The 21st Annual International Symposium on Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU) was held June 7–10, 2022, at the University of Toronto.
  • Awards were given for contributions to the field, early career research and clinical investigations, and student achievements.
  • Five new board members were elected.

The 21st Annual International Symposium on Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU) was held June 7–10, 2022, in Toronto and hosted by the University of Toronto. The conference, in which the Focused Ultrasound Foundation was a Gold Sponsor, brought together hundreds of experts in the field. Setting a new recording for attendance, ISTU welcomed 376 in-person attendees and 133 virtual attendees, for a total of 509 in combined attendance. The conference included 281 abstracts, 36 late-breaking research updates, and 140 posters. Presentation recordings are now available on the meeting website to registered attendees.

Beyond highlighting the most recent advances in preclinical, translational, and clinical research, the meeting also showcased the latest manufacturer advancements and the growth of the business of focused ultrasound, with 18 industry sponsors.

Award Winners Announced
The William and Francis Fry Honorary Fellowship for Contributions to Therapeutic Ultrasound was given to Natalia I. Vykhodtseva, PhD, from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Frederic Lizzi Early Career Awards were given to Kenneth Bryan Bader, PhD, from the University of Chicago, and James J. Choi, PhD, from Imperial College London.

The Early Career Clinical Investigator Award was given to Nir Lipsman, MD, PhD, FRCSC, from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

ISTU Annual Student Awards were given for Best Poster, Best Oral Presentation, and the highest level of student achievement: The Nadine Barrie Smith Award, which recognizes exemplary student achievements at the ISTU Annual Symposium.

New Board Members Elected
Five leaders from the field of focused ultrasound were elected to the ISTU Board of Directors at the annual meeting in four categories. All Board members serve a three-year term.

Arjun (JJ) Desai, MD, Chief Strategic Innovation Officer at Insightec, will represent the industry category.

Hong Chen, PhD, Associate Professor in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Radiation Oncology at Washington University in St. Louis, was added to the academic category.

In the clinical category, Francesco Prada, MD, Director of the Acoustic Neuro-Imaging and Therapy Lab (ANTY-Lab) at the Neurologic Institute C. Besta in Milan, joined the Board. Dr. Prada also served as the Foundation’s Merkin fellow from 2017–2019.

Two new members were elected in the at-large category: Benoit Larrat, PhD, Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives, Paris Saclay University, and Eun-Joo Park, PhD, Department of Radiology and the Biomedical Research Institute at Seoul National University Hospital in Seoul, Korea.

Presentation Highlights
Highlights from the ISTU meeting observed by members of the Foundation staff included the following:

  • Presentations covered the latest clinical research for a wide range of neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, brain tumors, and depression. Additional sessions reviewed laboratory research and the mechanisms of action being explored for these and other brain indications.
  • Scientific sessions addressed immunotherapy, oncology, drug delivery, histotripsy, and technical research.
  • A lively debate between Joseph Frank, MD, FACP, and Alexandre Carpentier, MD, PhD, regarding, “Ultrasound and microbubble mediated opening of the blood-brain barrier will reach widespread clinical adoption” was moderated by Jin Woo Chang, MD, PhD.
  • An inspiring video featuring female researchers in STEM – or the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math – included focused ultrasound researchers Allison Payne, PhD, Hong Chen, PhD, Zhen Xu, PhD, and others, discussing the many contributions from women in the field and work/life balance challenges.
  • A student mentorship session addressed the challenges of beginning a career in therapeutic ultrasound and offered a chance for students to ask questions of leaders in the field. The session was chaired by Delaney Fisher, PhD, and David Martin, and panelists included Joo Ha Hwag, MD, PhD, Peter Kaczkowski, Maxime Lafond, PhD, and the Foundation’s Chief Relationship Officer, Suzanne LeBlang, MD. 
  • Meeting attendees could participate in tours of Profound Medical and Sunnybrook Research Institute.
  • The symposium provided opportunities to establish connections with new focused ultrasound manufacturers.

See the Entire Program >

Upcoming Meetings
The 22nd annual ISTU meeting is being planned for April 17-20, 2023, in Lyon, France.

ISTU 2024 will take place in Taipei, and dates are forthcoming.