The first patient in a multicenter pivotal trial using focused ultrasound to address the major symptoms of Parkinson’s disease has been treated at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian in New York. This randomized, double-blind clinical trial is evaluating the safety and efficacy of using Insightec’s Exablate Neuro device in more than 100 patients with advanced and medication-refractory Parkinson’s disease.
This month, the Foundation launched FUS Partners, a new program aimed at fostering relationships among focused ultrasound community members seeking assistance with financing, partnerships, technology transfer, and/or academic research opportunities. The program is intended to formalize the Foundation's efforts related to connecting the focused ultrasound start-up community with investors and collaborators around the world.
The Foundation has announced a partnership with the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) to raise awareness of focused ultrasound among policymakers and medical specialty societies. “This partnership enables us to demonstrate focused ultrasound's potential to a wider group of decision makers,” said Foundation Chief Scientific Officer Jessica Foley, PhD. “Our Working Group is eager to advocate for common goals related to commercialization and advance the field towards clinical adoption.” Mark Carol, CEO and president of Sonacare, will chair the Focused Ultrasound Working Group.
The Foundation welcomes abstracts related to the use of image-guided focused ultrasound in preclinical research, clinical research, or technology development. A detailed list of topics of interest is available on the website. Please review the guidelines before submitting your abstract, and all abstracts must be submitted online before June 18.
Ferenc Jolesz Memorial Award To recognize the legacy of a world-class visionary and pioneer of focused ultrasound, this award encourages an innovative spirit in mid-career researchers and clinicians. The recipient will present at the Symposium, earn up to $5,000 toward registration and travel, and receive a $5,000 cash award.
Young Investigator Awards Graduate students, research fellows, clinical fellows, and junior faculty are eligible to apply for these awards, which include complimentary registration and up to $2,000 for travel expenses.
Blockchains are a brilliant application of cryptography used to construct distributed, immutable records; but it’s hard to separate the hype from the opportunity. Optum’s Distinguished Engineer, Rick Hamilton, led a webinar entitled “Blockchain: A Healthcare-Focused Introduction” that provided a (mostly) non-mathematical introduction to blockchain operation and healthcare-centered use cases. The webinar was broadcast via Facebook Live, and the recording has more than 250 views.
Applications are now being accepted for this annual $75,000 cash award established in memory of Andrew Lockhart. 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.
The Foundation’s booth highlighted important focused ultrasound research for Parkinson’s disease. The Foundation’s Chief Scientific Officer, Jessica Foley, PhD, was joined by two clinicians working in focused ultrasound from the University of Maryland: Paul Fishman, MD, PhD, and Dheeraj Gandhi, MBBS.
Foundation Chief Scientific Officer, Jessica Foley, PhD, took part in two important gatherings this month to raise awareness of focused ultrasound. She presented to the Senior Statesmen of Virginia on the challenges of attaining widespread use for a medical device and shared how the Foundation facilitates the process.
And last week, Foley gave a Visionary Speaker Seminar for the Medical Imaging Training Program at her alma mater, Duke University. There, she shared an overview of the state of the field of focused ultrasound and its future applications.
After careers in finance in New York and Connecticut, John and Dudley Macfarlane now reside in White Hall, Virginia, where John is managing member for an investment advisory firm and Dudley runs an equestrian breeding and training operation. The pair share why the technology’s potential, a personal hope, and the local connection have made them loyal supporters of the Foundation’s work.
For most people, gaining 25 pounds over the course of a year is not cause to celebrate. But Ron Nickelson sees the change as tangible evidence of how far he has come since he was the second patient treated at The Ohio State University Wexler Medical Center in a clinical trial investigating focused ultrasound for Parkinson’s dyskinesia.
Meet two dogs who have participated in focused ultrasound clinical trials. Maddi Lynn was treated at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM) for a malignant sarcoma on her front leg. Oreo suffered from a plasmacytoma on his lower lip and underwent focused ultrasound therapy at the Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences.
In November 2017, the Foundation launched a new veterinary program to develop focused ultrasound therapies for the treatment of companion animals. We are now supporting trials to investigate treating cancer and promote wound healing in pets – and more studies are in the pipeline.
A new Parkinson’s disease clinical trial is underway in Madrid, Spain. Led by José Obeso, MD, the trial will investigate the safety and efficacy of using Insightec’s Exablate Neuro focused ultrasound device to treat the cardinal features of Parkinson’s disease. Unlike previous studies that targeted the globus pallidus region of the brain, this trial aims to treat the part of the brain called the subthalamic nucleus.
At Tokyo Women’s Medical University in Japan, Takaomi Taira, MD, PhD, has begun a focused ultrasound trial that is pioneering an approach for treating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. He is targeting the pallidothalamic tracts in the brain, an approach that he believes is superior to other targets due in part to their location in the center of the brain.
The annual meeting of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine was held March 24-28, 2018, in New York, NY. The sessions included focused ultrasound applications ranging from clinical experience to basic science. The Foundation’s Research Fellow, Frederic Padilla, PhD, attended the meeting.
As biomarkers have become critical tools for early detection and treatment of tumors, a Stanford University team investigated whether focused ultrasound could help detect cancer sooner. A University of Washington group conducted a pilot study using focused ultrasound neuromodulation to identify painful nerves in patients with limb amputations. And finally, biomedical engineers at Columbia University sought alternative imaging techniques to enable focused ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier outside an MRI suite.
Experimental Study of Beam Distortion Due to Fiducial Markers during Salvage HIFU in the Prostate. High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is used as a noninvasive salvage treatment option for prostate cancer patients with local recurrence. Researchers at University College London wondered whether fiducial markers left in the prostate after external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) might interfere with HIFU. The group used tissue-mimicking material and an EBRT marker in laboratory studies and concluded the markers likely affect the placement and efficacy of HIFU lesions. Should patient selection and treatment planning changes be made when considering prostate salvage HIFU after failed EBRT?
Insightec’s Exablate Neuro focused ultrasound device has been recognized with a Gold Edison Award, the top honor in the Medical Innovations category at the Edison Awards. Edison Universe is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering innovation, celebrating natural curiosity, supporting discovery, and promoting the core skills and processes of innovation. Their annual awards honor innovation, recognize achievement, and celebrate success from organizations across the globe. The 2018 award recognized Exablate Neuro for its ability to improve treatment options for essential tremor.
A new Gener8tor accelerator program for medtech startups is now seeking applicants. The program is offered by gBETA Medtech, an accelerator that works with medical device, healthcare-related software, biotech, and diagnostics startups. Companies must send a founder to Minneapolis for seven weeks, but participants gain access to a community of entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts, and receive individualized coaching and mentorship. Each program is capped at up to six teams and requires no fees and no equity. The incubator is a partnership between Gener8tor, Mayo Clinic, and the University of Minnesota. It is sponsored by Boston Scientific.
The application deadline for the Summer 2018 program is June 22.