Israeli manufacturer Insightec has announced that the Food and Drug Administration has approved the initiation of an Alzheimer's disease clinical trial using focused ultrasound in the US. The study will evaluate the safety and efficacy of using Insightec's Exablate Neuro device to disrupt the BBB in these patients.
The Foundation team was on hand in Chicago as the results of the first Alzheimer's disease clinical trial were presented and published yesterday. Our Chief Scientific Officer, Jessica Foley, PhD, and Chief Medical Officer, Suzanne LeBlang, MD, interviewed Nir Lipsman, MD, PhD, who led the Toronto study. WATCH NOW >
In another interview, Deborah Kan, founder of the Alzheimer's patient support organization Being Patient, talked with Dr. Lipsman about his research. WATCH NOW >
Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD, sheds light on the Foundation's role over the past six years as focused ultrasound has evolved as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease. See a timeline of the Foundation's activities including funding research, convening researchers and physicians, and hosting workshops.
At the end of the month, the application period for the Lockhart Memorial Prize, an annual $75,000 cash award established in memory of Andrew Lockhart, will close. The award is given to an investigator who demonstrates outstanding potential to contribute to advancing cancer treatment using focused ultrasound. In 2017, the prize was awarded to the University of Virginia’s Richard Price, PhD.
More than 220 abstracts were submitted for the 6th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound to be held October 21-25 in Reston, Virginia. Researchers from more than 24 countries contributed data related to the use of image-guided focused ultrasound in preclinical research, clinical research, or technology development. Abstract review and selection is now underway, and acceptance notifications will be sent in early August.
On Wednesday, October 24, Scott Whitaker, President and CEO of the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), will address participants at the Focused Ultrasound Foundation’s 6th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound in Reston, Virginia. A top healthcare advocate and policy expert, Whitaker will discuss the benefits of technology in medicine – including focused ultrasound – for improving the lives of patients and for society in general, as well as current challenges and obstacles facing the industry during an onstage interview.
In a recent broadcast, “How Highly Focused Sound Waves Steadied A Farmer's Trembling Hand,” NPR’s Jon Hamilton shared the story of Alan Dambach, a Pennsylvania farmer whose essential tremor symptoms worsened to the point that writing was a challenge. Alan was treated with focused ultrasound at the University of Maryland Medical Center, and the next day he noted, “I was just so happy. My signature was back.”
Glenn Tipton, guitarist for the English heavy metal band Judas Priest, revealed his battle with Parkinson’s disease earlier this year as he stepped away from touring due to the illness. In June, Tipton released a statement announcing that he and his bandmates had formed The Glenn Tipton Parkinson’s Foundation to fund research, specifically in the area of focused ultrasound thalamotomy. All proceeds from a special edition charity t-shirt will be donated to Tipton’s Foundation. See media coverage from Rolling Stone, Louder, and Radio.com.
The Foundation has created a webpage to inform patients and their families about the current pivotal clinical trial investigating focused ultrasound to treat the major motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease. The site explains the details of the trial and includes a list of the eight participating sites and patient stories.
Oxford University researchers have published results from the first clinical study investigating extracorporeally triggered drug delivery using focused ultrasound in the Lancet Oncology. Ten patients with chemotherapy-resistant liver tumors were treated with a new delivery method that uses focused ultrasound to gently heat tumors to release highly targeted chemotherapy from temperature-sensitive nanocarriers, or liposomes. This work has earned coverage in the oncology, precision medicine, and focused ultrasound communities.
Sonacare Medical has reported favorable five-year outcomes in a multicenter trial of its Sonablate technology in medium- to high-risk prostate cancer patients. The study demonstrated that focused ultrasound therapy resulted in failure-free survival rates that are equivalent to those of patients treated with traditional surgery. The study also reported lower instances of incontinence and erectile dysfunction than are seen with surgery and radiation therapy. Since Sonablate technology was FDA approved in 2015, more than 1,800 patients have been treated at over 40 US locations.
On June 21, Imperial Health Charity (IHC) and St. Mary’s Hospital in London hosted an event to launch the Tremor Lifeline Appeal, a fundraising campaign that aims to enhance the Acute Imaging Centre at St. Mary’s, allowing the hospital to offer focused ultrasound to even more patients with essential tremor. The appeal seeks £1.5 million for an additional MRI machine as well as structural and facility improvements. Focused ultrasound pioneer and consultant radiologist at St. Mary’s, Professor Wladyslaw Gedroyc, joined patients and representatives from industry and IHC at the event to celebrate the site’s essential tremor work and outline potential future applications for focused ultrasound.
Essential Tremor, metastatic cancer, breast tumors, and tumor biology are the subjects of this month’s research report. Focused ultrasound thalamotomy is approved for essential tremor; can researchers learn more about its effectiveness by correlating treatment dose with clinical outcome? Can focused ultrasound plus microbubbles deliver a more effective level of growth-suppressing chemotherapy to a rare cancer metastases? Could a new transducer design allow focused ultrasound to safely and effectively treat breast cancer? Have researchers discovered a new biomarker for cancer diagnosis?
Researchers from the Chen Laboratory at Washington University in St. Louis have developed and tested a new method to measure and characterize acoustic pressure during MR-guided focused ultrasound procedures. Is it easy to use? Can it provide fast and reliable information when using a multi-element phased array transducer? Could it facilitate regulatory approval of new focused ultrasound techniques? See the Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound >
Theraclion recently announced that the first patient has been enrolled in “Forfait Innovation,” a 300-patient health economics outcome study that gives women with breast lesions access to Theraclion’s emerging Echotherapy treatment. Twelve participating hospitals will enroll patients in the trial, which is designed to compare focused ultrasound treatment to surgery. Theraclion was the first company to be included in the French Ministry of Health’s new program created to facilitate market access to innovative technologies. The treatments performed within the frame of the program are reimbursed by the national health system.
Insightec announced that their focused ultrasound treatment for essential tremor has earned a positive guidance from the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). According to their site, NICE guidelines are evidence-based recommendations that set out the care and services suitable for most people with a specific condition. The Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is the only site in the UK treating essential tremor with the company’s Exablate Neuro device.