Symposium 2018: Record Number of Attendees and Scientific Presentations Shows Immense Progress in the Field
Last month, a record number of clinicians, scientists, and industry representatives from around the globe convened in Virginia for the Foundation's 6th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound. Still more attended virtually via the livestream.
Scientific presentations focused on the latest research in neurological indications like Alzheimer's, brain tumors, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, and psychiatric disorders. Cancer immunotherapy, veterinary medicine, and applications for focused ultrasound in the liver, lung, and pancreas were also among the important topics discussed.
Held biennially at the Symposium, the Foundation’s media briefing offered press, patient advocacy groups, and other stakeholders an update on the exciting developments in focused ultrasound. This year, researchers and clinicians highlighted advances in cancer immunotherapy and opening the blood-brain barrier (BBB). A recording of the event is now available.
Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA),™ delivered a keynote address entitled, "Why Focused Ultrasound and Other Innovations Must be Allowed to Flourish." During his talk, Shapiro debuted a video featuring Julia, an essential tremor patient whose life was changed by focused ultrasound treatment. The video was produced by CTA’s Let’s Go Humans initiative.
"It feels like the front edge of a golden age for medical technology. You're beginning to see a convergence of traditional medical device technologies with traditional IT technologies coming together to create new and amazing ways to treat and cure diseases."
Mary Lou Jepsen, PhD, CEO and founder of Openwater, spoke on the final day of the meeting about her current project to develop a wearable device that could transform medical imaging. She explains, "I set out to put the functionality of a big MRI machine into a wearable [like a ski hat or a bandage]..." using what she calls "the tools of our time: consumer electronics, machine learning, and big data."
Focused Ultrasound Pioneers Recognized at Opening Reception
Drs. Yoo and Sanghvi
On Sunday evening, two leaders were recognized for their contributions to the field of focused ultrasound. Seung-Schik Yoo, PhD, MBA, of Brigham and Women's Hospital, received the Ferenc Jolesz Memorial Award. Honoring the life of Ferenc Jolesz, the award recognizes and encourages an innovative spirit in researchers advancing focused ultrasound.
The Foundation's Visionary Award was also presented to technology pioneer and entrepreneur Narendra (Naren) Sanghvi, PhD. This honor recognizes an individual who has created a larger vision for what the future of focused ultrasound may hold.
This year, 12 scientists received Young Investigator Awards and presented their research during the Symposium. Eight young investigators gave oral presentations on their data, while all participated in the Tuesday evening poster session where they had the opportunity to highlight their work and discuss their projects with colleagues.
Receiving the highest peer-reviewed rating among submissions from the Foundation's 2017 and 2018 Global Interns, Qingxi Brooke Ma’s abstract, entitled “Effects of focused ultrasound on delivery of intranasal GDNF DNA nanoparticles to the rat brain” earned her travel support to attend and present her work at the Symposium.
Brooke worked in collaboration with Brigham and Women's Hospital and Northeastern University.
The Foundation is grateful to everyone who worked with us to make this year’s Symposium a success.
The Foundation team planned and executed all aspects of the scientific plenary program. The scientific program committee reviewed, scored, and selected the research presented both orally and in posters.