The mission of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation is to accelerate the development of new applications for focused ultrasound and the widespread adoption of the technology as a standard of care. Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Foundation was created to improve the lives of millions of people with serious medical disorders by accelerating the development and adoption of focused ultrasound.
The idea of using focused ultrasound to treat tremors was conceptualized eight years ago, at the Foundation’s first “brain workshop,” held in in March 2009. Given the challenges of accessing the brain and the high cost, complications, and limitations of other approaches, the Foundation has long believed that focused ultrasound has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of many brain disorders – and ultimately open up opportunities to rapidly advance applications throughout the body.
Following the 2009 workshop, the Foundation helped to organize and fund a pilot study with Insightec and the University of Virginia. This pilot study served as the predicate for a much larger pivotal study, and data from this trial were published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine and lead to the FDA approval. The pivotal study was a collaboration between Insightec, the Foundation, and eight academic medical centers. It was funded by a partnership between the Foundation, Insightec, and the Israel-US Binational Industrial R&D (BIRD) Foundation.
“This FDA approval really does exemplify the Foundation’s mission to accelerate the development and adoption of focused ultrasound by fostering collaboration and supporting research,” said Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD. “The Foundation’s strategy for advancing essential tremor treatment through trials and regulatory hurdles serves as a template for our efforts moving forward. The organization is engaged in extensive brain research right now including Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, epilepsy, brain tumors, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. We are exploring focused ultrasound to not only destroy tissue, but to stimulate the immune system and open the blood-brain barrier to deliver drugs. We also support a variety of technical projects to make brain treatment safer, faster, and more effective. It’s a very exciting time for the field.”