The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden Celebrate Opening of Focused Ultrasound Center of Excellence in London

Thomas Andreae (Philips), Gail ter Haar (ICR), Heather Huff-Simonin and Jessica Foley (FUSF), and Nandita DeSousa (ICR)

The first clinical trial has begun at the new Focused Ultrasound Foundation Center of Excellence (COE) at the Institute of Cancer Research, London. This center is a public-private collaboration between the Foundation, The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), Philips Healthcare, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust to create a state-of-the-art resource for clinicians and scientists to develop clinical evidence and establish best practices, treatment standards, and protocols for the use of focused ultrasound to treat cancer.

On September 19th, leaders, researchers, and physicians from the ICR and The Royal Marsden gathered together at the organization’s shared site in Sutton, south London, to mark the beginning of the first clinical trial and celebrate the COE’s grand opening. More than 50 experts gathered to:

  • Learn about the initiation of a multicenter bone metastases clinical trial
  • Discuss focused ultrasound’s capabilities and its potential to treat a range of cancers through multiple mechanisms
  • Watch a live demonstration of the Philips Sonalleve system’s ability to noninvasively induce selective tissue damage

The multicenter clinical trial is at an early stage, but researchers have treated two patients who were suffering from painful bone metastases. Nandita DeSouza, MD, Co-Director of the COE, Professor of Translational Imaging at the ICR and Honorary Consultant at The Royal Marsden, said “We’re still learning how best to use focused ultrasound, but our experience with the two patients we have treated so far has been very positive. We’ve successfully managed to target the ultrasound on metastatic lesions, and while it is early days, our patients do seem to be gaining real benefits from the treatment in terms of the levels of pain they are experiencing. We’re excited at the potential of this treatment to bring real improvements in quality of life.”

PhilipsProfessor and physicist Gail ter Haar, DSc, Leader of the Therapeutic Ultrasound Team at the ICR, was thrilled with the attendance. She commented that, “The open discussion between department heads and researchers, the enthusiasm for the current project, and the keen interest from many different clinicians was exactly what we were hoping for when planning today’s events.”

After meeting with the researchers, the Foundation’s Scientific Director, Jessica Foley, PhD, toured the facilities and spoke at the event. “It’s an exciting time for the Foundation and for the technology. A collaboration of this importance, with these partners, at one of the most luminary oncology centers in the world is a model for translating the science of focused ultrasound into clinical practice,” said Dr. Foley. She thanked Professor Gail ter Haar for her critical role in the success of the new center, stating “Prof. ter Haar is a true pioneer in understanding the physics and bioeffects of focused ultrasound and in pushing the envelope of what the technology can achieve. She has been a leader in establishing focused ultrasound as a clinical field of study, one with standards for research and quality assurance, and has even consulted with the regulators at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. She is the ultimate Champion of focused ultrasound technology.”

Heather Huff-Simonin
 DSC8735_sm, the Foundation’s Director of Global Business Development added, “As global leaders in groundbreaking oncology treatment and research, The Royal Marsden and the ICR are a natural fit for advancing focused ultrasound in cancer and will serve as a hub for collaboration in Europe and beyond.”

When researchers create a space for problem-solving and clinicians are invited to bring their ideas to the table, medicine can advance and patients will ultimately benefit. The Foundation congratulates our partners Philips Healthcare, the ICR, and The Royal Marsden for corroborating in a program that will be making a difference in the lives of patients for years to come.