2022 Summer Intern Report: Kavya Parekh


University of Virginia, Class of 2023

A Comprehensive Review of Focused Ultrasound for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG)

Project Overview
Many preclinical models have established the feasibility and safety of blood-brain barrier (BBB) opening using focused ultrasound in conjunction with microbubbles. Given that the BBB is a known obstacle to therapy delivery for the brain, researchers have aimed to apply this capability to the field of neuro-oncology. DIPG is a fatal brain tumor that is difficult to treat due to its location and speed of growth. Therefore, we aimed to summarize past preclinical studies and indicate areas of further study on the use of focused ultrasound for DIPG.

Project Outcomes
We are writing a review article for a special issue of Neoplasia, which is still in progress!

Why were you initially interested in working with the Foundation?
I learned about the Foundation in a talk by Dr. Kassell given to my Social Entrepreneurship class. I was intrigued to learn more about how the Foundation horizontally integrates research, policy, and outreach to advocate for the widespread implementation of its technology.

Describe your experience as an intern.
Being an intern has been an incredible learning experience on not only the depth of research needed to implement a medical innovation, but on the coordination it takes between institutions to turn discoveries into something meaningful. As I delve into research from multiple academic intuitions and synthesize them in our paper, I see how each offers an important piece of information that is vital work toward bringing focused ultrasound to DIPG patients.

How will your accomplishments impact the field of focused ultrasound?
Given the quantity of new research being published from multiple institutions about focused ultrasounds applications in neuro-oncology, it’s important to synthesize this work to identify areas of further research. For research to be put into practice, a review like our project allows us to recognize any gaps in efficacy or delivery in addition to linearly progressing upon past discoveries.