World's First Noninvasive Brain Tumor Treatment with Focused Ultrasound Thermal Ablation
A landmark event in the evolution of focused ultrasound was achieved on March 4, 2014 in Switzerland. For the first time, focused ultrasound was successfully used to treat a brain tumor. The adult patient had a recurrent glioma, a small portion of which was thermally ablated through the intact skull using InSightec's Exablate Neuro system. The procedure was performed as a proof of concept to assess the feasibility and safety of focused ultrasound in treating brain tumors; it was not intended to ablate the entire tumor or demonstrate efficacy.
"We were able to successfully target and destroy a part of the tumor located deep within the patient's brain… with no side effects or complications."- Dr. Javier Fandino
The treatment was conducted at the Focused Ultrasound Center of University Children's Hospital Zurich by a team led by Javier Fandino, M.D., Professor of Neurosurgery at Kantonsspital Aarau, Switzerland and Ernst Martin, M.D., Professor of Neuroradiology, University Children's Hospital Zurich.
Medical Device Innovator to Deliver Keynote Address at Focused Ultrasound Symposium
Frederic Moll, M.D., a serial medical device entrepreneur, will kick off the 4th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound in October 2014 with a keynote presentation titled, "Developing a New, Disruptive Therapeutic Modality: From Laboratory Research Tool to Standard of Care." Dr. Moll will share insights from his experience founding Intuitive Surgical, Inc., including his vision behind the technology, overcoming barriers to adoption, and lessons for focused ultrasound.
"Focused ultrasound has incredible potential to change the treatment paradigm for many serious medical conditions," said Dr. Moll. "But like many disruptive technologies, success is contingent upon navigating the interests of many stakeholders. I am happy to collaborate with the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in their mission to advance this technology by providing guidance to the leaders in the field."
"Leveraging all forces and talent toward a collaborative roadmap in this field is especially critical because of the multidisciplinary challenges." - Eyal Zadicario, InSightec
Workshop Identifies Multiple Opportunities for Neuromodulation
The Focused Ultrasound Foundation organized and hosted a workshop on March 3-4 in Charlottesville, Virginia, to discuss the state of the art, current challenges, and future research directions for using focused ultrasound to induce neuromodulation – the stimulation or blocking of neuronal activity in targeted areas of the brain.
This workshop brought together a multidisciplinary, group including luminaries in transcranial focused ultrasound, ultrasound physics, magnetic resonance imaging, neurology, and neurosurgery. The global group represented academic institutions, device manufacturers, government, and the Foundation.
Key topics included the potential of focused ultrasound to:
U.S. Senator Mark Warner Visits Focused Ultrasound Center and Foundation
Virginia Senator Mark Warner vowed that he would go back to the Capitol recharged to advocate for focused ultrasound after touring the UVA Focused Ultrasound Center and the Focused Ultrasound Foundation on March 19.
Senator Warner watched a demonstration of the technology and discussed current and future applications of focused ultrasound with the UVA Center leaders. Center Director Dr. James Larner thanked Warner for his early support of the Center, championing state funding when he was Governor of Virginia. Warner emphasized the importance of public investment in medical technologies like focused ultrasound to improve quality of life, decrease cost, and also to help boost the economy and fuel job creation.
"Focused ultrasound could be the next big thing in healthcare," Warner said. "The research this team and others are doing here is world class. This is an incredible success story coming out of UVA."
"We are excited about continuing the process to revolutionize medicine by taking this innovation to the next level for our patients." - Dr. Michael Schwartz, Sunnybrook neurosurgeon and lead investigator
ET Pivotal Begins at Sunnybrook, Six Sites Now Recruiting
Stanford University Medical Center, Palo Alto, California
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Canada
Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, Washington
Toyko Women's Medical University, Toyko, Japan
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
Yonsei University Medical Center, Seoul, South Korea
In this trial, 72 patients are being enrolled around the world and randomized to either an ExAblate Neuro or sham (no) treatment. The results of this multi-site trial are expected to support submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada for regulatory approval of focused ultrasound to treat patients with essential tremor.
Patients who are interested in participating should contact the nearest site.
Focused Ultrasound Featured at European Congress of Radiology
Radiologists from around the world gathered in Vienna this month for the 2014 European Congress of Radiology. Dr. Wadyslaw Gedroyc chaired a special focus session called "Treatment with MR-Guided Focused Ultrasound." The session included a technology overview, a description of the technique, an update on treatment for uterine fibroids and adenomyosis, and an introduction to applications for transcranial ultrasound. A panel discussion entitled, "How can this technology be spread more widely?" rounded out the 90-minute program.
Tremor Grand Rounds: Focused Ultrasound Included as a Future Treatment in JAMA Article
The March 5, 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a Grand Rounds summary of common tremor disorders that was written by Drs. Jeff Elias and Binit Shah of the University of Virginia. The article is based on their Grand Rounds presentation at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in January, 2013. Although the two patients presented in the article were not treated with focused ultrasound, the possibility that it will soon become a viable treatment option is mentioned. JAMA is the most widely circulated medical journal in the world.
Uterine Fibroid Research Update
Researchers in China found that a microbubble-enhancing contrast agent (SonoVue) was safe and improved the treatment effect of focused ultrasound in patients with uterine fibroids. When compared with a control group, the patients who received a bolus of SonoVue before the procedure had a higher amount of ablated tissue, a higher frequency of gray-scale changes, needed less acoustic energy, and had a shorter sonication time. The study will be published in Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology and is currently available online.
A comprehensive, systematic review of data from 2,500 uterine fibroid patients in 38 eligible studies was published in Reproductive Sciences. The Italian researchers found focused ultrasound to be a safe, efficient, and cost effective minimally invasive treatment for uterine fibroids based on their analysis of shrinkage, nonperfused volume, and symptom relief at 3, 4, 6, and 12 months. The authors noted that increasing experience, device improvements, and treatment availability seem to be improving outcomes.
JTU Article of the Month – Focused Ultrasound Development and Clinical Adoption: 2013 Update
The field of focused ultrasound first emerged in the 1940s. Where is it today, almost 75 years later? In its February issue, The Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound published a brief history along with comprehensive metrics outlining the recent growth and adoption of this technology.