– The Focused Ultrasound Foundation and the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF) have established a partnership to advance innovative, noninvasive treatments in pediatrics. For more than 15 years, the Focused Ultrasound Foundation has been dedicated to advancing the development and adoption of focused ultrasound. Likewise, for over 40 years, CTF has been a leader in driving research, expanding knowledge, and advancing care for the neurofibromatosis community.
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”.
Key Points Dr. Choy is Senior Vice President and Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Clinical Systems in the Office of Medical Affairs at UnitedHealth Group.He previously served as faculty at Harvard Medical School.The Council provides strategic advice, assists with raising funds, and builds awareness. Garry Choy, MD, MBA The Foundation is pleased to welcome Garry Choy, MD, MBA, to the Foundation’s Council, a dedicated group of goodwill ambassadors who work closely with the Board of Directors and staff to provide strategic advice and assist with building awareness, establishing relationships, and raising funds.Dr. Choy is Senior Vice President and Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Clinical Systems in the Office of Medical Affairs at UnitedHealth Group, a multinational managed healthcare and insurance company based in Minnesota. In this role, he focuses on advancing the application of clinically focused technology for the enterprise.Dr. Choy has led innovations in clinical quality improvement and decision support, provider data management, credentialing, population health, analytics, and machine learning at organizations including Massachusetts General Hospital and CredSimple/Andros.He previously served as faculty at Harvard Medical School and completed his clinical training at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.“Garry brings a unique understanding of medicine and the intricate world of reimbursement that is invaluable as the field of focused ultrasound moves toward commercialization,” said Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD. “He has a passion for using innovative technologies to improve quality and access of care while decreasing costs for patients, and focused ultrasound is a prime example of one of these groundbreaking innovations. With clinical research at an all-time high, the success of the field is increasingly dependent on patient access, and Garry will be a great resource as the Foundation seeks to help break down some of the barriers.”Dr. Choy received his BS in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University, MS in Operations Research and Economic-Engineering Systems from Stanford University, and MBA from Johns Hopkins University.“I am excited to join this esteemed organization to help in the journey of value-driven advancement of focused ultrasound, a prime example of a key important novel and emerging medical technology platform,” said Dr. Choy.
Key Points The Foundation hosted a local awareness event for supporters and friends in the community.Presentations covered current research for brain tumors, psychiatric conditions, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. On June 8, the Foundation hosted a local awareness event in Charlottesville, Virginia, to educate and raise awareness about focused ultrasound, with a particular spotlight on its impact on brain conditions.The event convened members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, Council, and staff, as well as focused ultrasound researchers, donors, and community members. In all, more than 100 people were in attendance.The program began with a welcome by Foundation Chairman, Neal F. Kassell, MD, who shared a brief overview of the state of the field of focused ultrasound research.Lauren Powlovich, MD, the Foundation’s Associate Chief Medical Officer, then presented the current research in focused ultrasound for brain tumors. She discussed ongoing work for both benign and malignant tumors and addressed where focused ultrasound could make the biggest impact – for deadly, hard-to-treat tumors like glioblastoma (GBM) and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). She also reviewed how focused ultrasound could be combined with other therapies to improve their efficacy.Rees Cosgrove, MD, director of epilepsy and functional neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, then addressed the state of research of focused ultrasound for psychiatric disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and treatment-resistant depression (TRD). He began by describing the symptoms of each condition and traditional therapies, including surgical interventions, which are considered a last resort. He shared the story of a 24-year-old patient who suffered from severe OCD and TRD who was able to overcome his disease following gamma knife treatment. Dr. Cosgrove then addressed the advantages that focused ultrasound has over gamma knife therapy and how focused ultrasound could play a role in treating these patients. Finally, Paul Fishman, MD, PhD, professor of neurology, pharmacology, and neurobiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, addressed two common degenerative conditions – Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD). He explained the history of treating PD, compared traditional treatments to focused ultrasound, and outlined the different areas in the brain that focused ultrasound researchers are targeting to treat patients with PD. For AD, Dr. Fishman discussed how focused ultrasound–induced blood-brain barrier opening – alone or in combination with drug therapies – might hold the answer to the devastating disease.The program closed with a lively Q&A session.“These events are invaluable to the Foundation’s mission of raising awareness of focused ultrasound,” said Dr. Kassell. “It is important to update our friends and supporters on the latest breakthroughs and bring them together with the experts in the field who are pioneering this research. We hope everyone left with a sense that the field is expanding rapidly in really meaningful areas that will impact patients’ lives.”
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