Innovation is the driving force for biomedical research as we strive for health care that is safer, more effective and of greater value. Continued innovation requires collaboration, particularly in this time of limited resources, global competition and long timelines from bench to bedside. The biomedical community is recognizing the need to break down the silos that impede progress, and foundations – including the Focused Ultrasound Foundation – are realizing a need for quick and widespread dissemination of research results that will forge new partnerships among multiple stakeholders including researchers, clinicians, industry, government and patients.
Like many of you, all of us at the Focused Ultrasound Foundation were surprised and saddened to learn of Senator John McCain’s recent glioblastoma (GBM) diagnosis. GBM and other brain tumors are a major focus of our research here at the Foundation, and unfortunately we are all too familiar with the devastating effects of this disease on patients and their families. Our thoughts and well wishes are with the McCains and we sincerely hope he will be one of the lucky ones to survive for many years to come.
When news of the Senator’s diagnosis became public, we were flooded with inquiries about whether focused ultrasound (FUS) could treat his tumor. Unfortunately the short answer, at the present time, is no. Focused ultrasound is still in the early stages of development for brain tumors. We hope and expect, however, that the technology will be available in the not too distant future as an effective, noninvasive alternative or complement to traditional GBM treatments to improve quality and longevity of life in these patients.
Written by Jessica L. Foley, PhD and Neal F. Kassell, MD
Focused ultrasound is a powerful technology poised to play a unique role towards achieving the vision of the Cancer Moonshot. This early stage, noninvasive, therapeutic technology has the potential to improve the quality and longevity of life and decrease the cost of care for certain patients with cancer by serving as an alternative or complement to each of the four pillars of cancer treatment: surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is dedicated to bringing this new therapy to patients as quickly as possible.
The Moonshot initiative has emphasized the need to break down silos that are impediments to progress in cancer research in order to promote collaboration and data sharing among multiple stakeholders including researchers, clinicians, industry, government and patients. The Foundation works hard to do just that with the growing community active in focused ultrasound research.