Blog

Meeting Report: Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) 2022

Published:
SIR held its 2022 Annual Meeting in Boston from June 11–16. There were seven scientific presentations on focused ultrasound, and two manufacturers in the field participated. A Foundation-sponsored reception and several educational sessions throughout the meeting focused on cultivating the next generation of interventional radiologists.
Read More ...

BLOODPAC Hosts Liquid Biopsy Virtual Workshop

Published:
Liquid biopsy is a less-invasive method to analyze non-solid tissue, most commonly blood, to diagnose and monitor cancer. Early data suggest focused ultrasound can amplify the presence of biomarkers, making them easier to detect and measure in the bloodstream. BloodPAC partnered with the Foundation and C2i Genomics to host a virtual workshop, “New Frontiers in Liquid Biopsy: Personalized Medicine for Brain Cancer”.
Read More ...

Focused Ultrasound for Parkinson’s Dementia: First-in-Human Data Published

Published:
Key Points People living with Parkinson’s disease sometimes develop memory loss, forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, and eventually dementia.A collaborative team of researchers led by Prof. José Obeso, MD, PhD, is seeking to use focused ultrasound to address this devastating complication.The research team successfully used focused ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier in people with Parkinson’s dementia, and the procedure was well tolerated. Striatal Blood-Brain Barrier Opening in Parkinson’s Disease Dementia: A Pilot Exploratory Study Although Parkinson’s disease is classified as a movement disorder, people with Parkinson’s disease sometimes develop memory loss, forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, and eventually dementia. Like other types of dementia, Parkinson’s dementia is debilitating and causes patients to be unable to care for themselves or perform simple daily tasks. To prevent this devastating complication, a collaborative team of researchers based in Madrid and led by Prof. José Obeso, MD, PhD, is seeking to use focused ultrasound to help people with Parkinson’s avoid progression to dementia. Results from the group’s first-in-human study to open the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in a new region of the brain to address this problem were recently published in the journal Movement Disorders. These data provide yet another building block in a series of studies designed to help physicians become able to treat these patients earlier and more effectively. In the phase I, single-arm, nonrandomized, proof-of-concept study (NCT03608553), investigators enrolled seven participants with Parkinson’s dementia to test the safety and feasibility of using focused ultrasound to open the BBB in the region of the brain called the striatum. Previous studies have determined that the neurotransmitter dopamine becomes reduced in the striatum in patients with Parkinson’s disease as the disease progresses. The team used Insightec’s Exablate Neuro device for the trial. Each participant underwent the BBB opening procedure twice, 2 to 4 weeks apart. After an addendum to the original protocol, three of the seven participants underwent bilateral BBB opening during the second session. “The ultimate aim for using BBB opening for Parkinson’s disease will be to deliver putative, restorative, and neuroprotective agents to the striatum, which is where the damage occurs earliest and is most severe,” said Prof. Obeso. “These agents might be gene therapies, antibodies, anti-inflammatories, or other pharmaceuticals. The aim of this study, however, was to prove that we could perform repeated and bilateral focal BBB opening in the region where dopamine loss first occurs in patients with Parkinson’s disease. This provides the background for possible therapeutic studies going forward.” Professor Obeso added, “At one of the first Foundation workshops on this topic, the representatives from the US Food and Drug Administration made it clear that we must first establish the safety of BBB opening before administering a therapeutic. Otherwise, it would not be clear which mechanism was creating a therapeutic benefit or a side effect. It was important to them to do this research in a step-by-step fashion, and this is one of those important steps toward designing a therapeutic trial.” The research team determined the procedure was feasible and well tolerated. No serious adverse events occurred. MRI was used to confirm BBB opening and closing. The team also noted a small, but significant reduction in β-amyloid uptake in the targeted region. With the successful completion of this pilot study, the group is planning a larger follow-up study and testing the possibility of administering a medication or a neurorestorative molecule across the BBB. “Looking to the future, our goal is not to treat mainly Parkinson’s dementia,” said Prof. Obeso. “Our goal is to prevent Parkinson’s patients from ever developing dementia, and truly – someday, to prevent Parkinson’s from ever progressing at all, in any way. I would like to be able to treat patients with early Parkinson’s and to be able to diagnose the disease as early as possible to help more people.” The clinical trial was funded by the MAPFRE Foundation and the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science. Early results from this trial were published in Nature Communications (February 2021). See Movement Disorders > Related StoriesFocused Ultrasound for Parkinson’s Disease: Meet the Experts April 2021 Fireside Chat: A Conversation with the Experts about Focused Ultrasound for Parkinson’s Disease April 2021 Focused Ultrasound for Blood-Brain Barrier Opening in Patients with Parkinson’s Dementia March 2021 Landmark Clinical Trial Shows Focused Ultrasound to be a Safe and Effective Treatment for the Cardinal Features of Parkinson’s Disease December 2020 Two Landmark Studies Advance Focused Ultrasound Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease October 2020 Parkinson’s Trial in Madrid Investigates Treating a New Target April 2018
Read More ...

Focused Ultrasound Included in Epilepsy Pipeline Conference

Published:
Key Points On June 5–6, the Epilepsy Foundation hosted its 2022 Pipeline Conference.This meeting is designed to showcase the latest developments in the epilepsy pipeline from preclinical to US Food and Drug Administration approval.During one of the device sessions, Vibhor Krishna, MD, presented information on focused ultrasound treatments for epilepsy. On June 5–6, the Epilepsy Foundation hosted its 2022 Pipeline Conference in Santa Clara, CA, with an option to attend virtually. This meeting is designed to showcase the latest developments in the epilepsy pipeline from preclinical to US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.Vibhor Krishna, MD, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, presented “Focused Ultrasound Foundation is an Image-Guided, Noninvasive, Non-Ionizing Therapeutic Technology” during one of the device sessions.“This conference is a great opportunity to introduce focused ultrasound to the larger epilepsy community,” said Dr. Krishna. “The experts in attendance are particularly interested in developing and adopting new treatment technologies, and I received great feedback after my presentation.”The Epilepsy Foundation holds its Pipeline Conference every two years. Experts in epilepsy treatment, innovators, and product developers join forces to evaluate new therapies, explore scientific advances, and form collaborations and partnerships. In 2022, the conference also included the Epilepsy Foundation’s Annual Shark Tank Competition and the presentation of several awards.See the Entire Program >
Read More ...
Meeting Report: International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) 2022 Meeting Report: Acoustical Society of America (ASA) 2022 Meeting Report: International Symposium on Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU) Foundation-Funded Research Update: Focused Ultrasound for Limb Loss Pain Meeting Report: 2022 American Urological Association (AUA) Annual Meeting