Press Releases

The Focused Ultrasound Foundation Designates the University of Oxford as a Center of Excellence


October 3, 2023 Charlottesville, VA —The Focused Ultrasound Foundation has designated the University of Oxford a Center of Excellence in focused ultrasound. Oxford has become Europe’s fifth Center of Excellence and eleventh worldwide. The recognition coincides with the University of Oxford’s recent Focused Ultrasound Day celebration.

Professor Constantin Coussios and Dr. Paul Lyon will co-lead the Center of Excellence. Professor Coussios holds the statutory chair of biomedical engineering and serves as the Institute of Biomedical Engineering director at the University of Oxford. Dr. Lyon is a Senior Clinical Research Fellow in the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, a Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists, and oversaw the first-in-human clinical trial of ultrasound-triggered drug delivery to the liver (TARDOX). 

Established in 2009, the Centers of Excellence program recognizes exceptional focused ultrasound worldwide. The Centers serve as hubs for collaboration, bringing together academia, industry, and the Foundation to champion therapeutic ultrasound technology in innovative ways.

“We are honored to recognize the University of Oxford as one of the leading focused ultrasound sites in the world,” said Neal F. Kassell, MD, Founder and Chairman of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation. “The team is engaging in critical basic science and translational work that will reach more patients in the United Kingdom, Europe, and globally, saving lives and accelerating the development and adoption of focused ultrasound technology.”

Focused ultrasound research has been a hallmark of the Oxford ecosystem since 2004.

“Oxford has been one of the leading ultrasound centers in the United Kingdom over the last 20 years,” said David Cranston, emeritus associate professor of surgery and founding clinical director of the Oxford High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) unit. Professor Cranston oversaw the first European trials of extra-corporeal HIFU for liver and kidney ablation that resulted in the CE marking of Chongqing Haifu’s JC system and the setting up of a clinical HIFU program in Oxford in 2002. “We are delighted to cooperate more closely with the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in the United States through this award and in the growth of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in the United Kingdom. We look forward to promoting the technology for the benefit of patients.”

“We are delighted that Oxford HIFU Unit is receiving this designation,” said Zhibiao Wang, MD, PhD, founder and chairman of Chongqing Haifu Medical Technology. “The two-decades-long collaboration between Oxford and Chongqing Haifu Medical has been creative, productive and will further the partnership between the Focused Ultrasound Foundation and Chongqing Haifu Medical to accelerate the advancement of this exciting field globally. It will also improve accessibility of noninvasive focused ultrasound technology to patients.”

“Since 2007, 35 patents have been filed, and four new companies have been formed to translate ultrasound research for the benefit of patients,” said Coussios. “Oxford’s broadband blend of basic science, clinical, and commercial translation creates a unique training environment for the next generation of leaders and innovators.” 

“More than 700 patients have been screened for ablative or drug-delivery focused ultrasound treatments at Oxford, with some 250 patients treated to date,” said Lyon. “Having conducted the very first clinical trials of ultrasound-enhanced drug delivery outside the brain, we are presently treating several new clinical indications, ranging from ablative techniques for pancreatic tumors and soft tissue sarcomas to enhanced drug delivery for metastatic colorectal tumors in the liver and ultrasound-stimulated neuromodulation and immuno-oncology.”

With the current and future financial support of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, funding agencies, and donors, the new Center of Excellence will draw on the expertise of over 23 principal investigators devoted to focused ultrasound research and work in collaboration with industrial partners and other Centers of Excellence around the world to expand the range of novel ultrasound therapies for the benefit of patients.

About Focused Ultrasound
Focused ultrasound uses ultrasound energy guided by real-time imaging to treat tissue deep in the body without incisions or radiation. There are currently 34 indications in various stages of development in the UK and more than 170 worldwide, including Alzheimer’s disease and tumors of the brain, liver, breast, and pancreas. Worldwide, 32 have regulatory approval, and in the UK, 13 have achieved CE marking.

About the Focused Ultrasound Foundation
The Focused Ultrasound Foundation was created to improve the lives of millions of people worldwide by accelerating the development of this noninvasive technology. The Foundation works to clear the path to global adoption by organizing and funding research, fostering collaboration, and building awareness among patients and professionals. Since its establishment in 2006, the Foundation has become the largest nongovernmental funding source for focused ultrasound research.