Meeting Report: International Symposium on Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU) 2023


Key Points

  • The 22nd Annual International Symposium on Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU) was held April 17–20 in Lyon, France. 
  • The meeting was hosted in conjunction with the 6th European Symposium of Focused Ultrasound (EUFUS). 
  • More than 500 researchers and industry professionals participated, and awards recognized contributions to the field.
Group picture of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation team at The 22nd Annual International Symposium on Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU).

The 22nd Annual International Symposium on Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU) was held in conjunction with the 6th European Symposium of EUFUS from April 17–20, 2023 at the Palais de la Bourse, a listed historical monument in the heart of Lyon, France. The joint meeting was organized by LabTAU, a Focused Ultrasound Center of Excellence, and the Foundation was a Gold Sponsor of the hybrid conference. 

ISTU 2023 featured 260 abstracts, 50 late-breaking research updates, and 193 posters. The hybrid meeting offered both virtual and in-person attendance for more than 500 researchers and industry professionals. 

All presentation recordings are available on the meeting website.

“The amount of activity in the field is astonishing,” said Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD, who attended the meeting. “Most noteworthy were the presentations on cancer immunotherapy and neuromodulation. We also established and strengthened relationships with new and existing focused ultrasound companies that are transitioning toward commercialization.” 

Daily Content 

Monday, April 17 
Monday’s agenda included four 90-minute educational sessions (on Propagation of Ultrasound in Biological Tissues, Histotripsy, Thermal Ultrasound, and Drug Delivery) and tours of LabTAU’s headquarters and EDAP-TMS’s researcher and manufacturing facilities. 

Tuesday, April 18 
On Tuesday, opening remarks were followed by two plenary talks, six scientific sessions – each with ten presentations – and poster sessions and exhibits during lunch. Plenary talks were given by Sébastien Crouzet, MD, PhD, Hospices Civils de Lyon, on “Prostate Cancer,” and Professor Hao-Li Liu, PhD, National Taiwan University, on “Translational Development of Focused Ultrasound Induced Blood-Brain Barrier Opening.” Scientific session topics included brain and body clinical updates, emerging technologies and applications, drug delivery, and physics and modeling. Tuesday concluded with the “Future of ISTU” poster session, in which academic and industry leaders were able to network and speak directly with current graduate students and postdoctoral researchers actively seeking positions. The Foundation hosted a welcome reception on the evening of April 18 at the Palais de la Bourse. 

Wednesday, April 19 
Wednesday began with a 90-minute educational session on immunotherapy followed by ten student award talks and then scientific sessions on immunotherapy, brain, and liver/pancreas – each with up to nine presentations. General assemblies were held for members of both ISTU and EUFUS. The Fry, Lizzi, and Early Clinical Awards were presented (see below for winners) followed by a student mentorship session. Wednesday concluded with a Gala event. 

Thursday, April 20 
The 90-minute educational session on Thursday addressed the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in therapeutic ultrasound. The topics for the scientific sessions were histotripsy, neuromodulation, cavitation physics and monitoring, and thermal therapy. “This house believes that ultrasound therapy is ineffective on its own unless used in combination with other therapies” was the topic for the ever-popular debate session. The debaters were Gail ter Haar, DSc, Dr (The Institute of Cancer Research), C.T.W. Moonen, PhD (University Medical Center Utrecht), Elisa Konofagou, PhD (Columbia University), and Holger Grüll, PhD (University of Cologne, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital Cologne), and the debate was moderated by Cyril Lafon, PhD (INSERM). Student awards were announced, and the conference ended with closing remarks. 

ISTU 2023 Award Winners 
The William and Francis Fry Honorary Fellowship for Contributions to Therapeutic Ultrasound was awarded to Albert Gelet, MD. Frederic Lizzi Early Career Awards were given to Ching-Hsiang Fan, PhD, and James Kwan, PhD. The Early Career Clinical Investigator Award was given to Raúl Martínez-Fernández, MD, PhD

Student Awards were given to Mark R. Schwartz and Karanpartap Singh for Best Poster and Best Oral Presentation, respectively. The highest level of student achievement, the Nadine Barrie Smith Award, recognizes exemplary student achievements and was awarded to Benjamin Robert Kop, MRes.

See the Entire Program  

ISTU 2024 will take place in Taipei, and the 7th European Symposium of EUFUS is planned for September 18–19, 2025, in Frankfurt, Germany.