Opening this fall, the Center will be a state-of-the-art resource for clinicians and scientists who are using focused ultrasound therapy to treat cancer. The ICR site will develop clinical evidence in oncology, establish best practices, define treatment standards, create protocols, and train scientists and clinicians. The research conducted in this Center will be universal to the technology and span across cancer indications. The first project at the COE will be a clinical trial to study the use of focused ultrasound to treat bone metastases using Philips' Sonalleve system.
FUSF Symposium Honorary President Feng Wu, MD, PhD
"Dr. Wu has been pivotal in spreading his vision and clinical experience with the technology between the East and the West. He is the perfect role model for our symposium as the leading forum for global collaboration."
- Neal F. Kassell, MD
Pioneer in Focused Ultrasound Cancer Treatment Named Honorary President for 2014 Symposium
Wu has been a steadfast champion of focused ultrasound for more than 25 years. To date, his teams in China have treated more than 50,000 tumor patients, the largest population of focused ultrasound-treated patients in the world. Now living in England, Wu is a Focused Ultrasound Consultant and Senior Clinical Scientist at Oxford University. He is a leading researcher in the field, having published more than 200 papers. In 2013, he was awarded the International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound's William and Francis Fry Award for his outstanding contributions to the field.
The Focused Ultrasound Foundation continues to expand relationships and collaborate with leading health organizations that share our mission to improve lives. The Epilepsy Foundation is funding a two-phase study to determine if focused ultrasound can be used to successfully treat one form of epilepsy.
FUSF scientist John Snell, PhD, will collaborate with neurosurgeon Ryder Gwinn, MD, and researchers at Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle to study the possibility of using focused ultrasound as a noninvasive and surgery-free treatment alternative for patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy who do not respond to medication. If the feasibility studies are positive, five patients will be treated in the second phase of the study.
"Right now open surgery is the most effective treatment for these patients, but risks include stroke, infection, and memory or speech problems. Focused ultrasound may offer a non-invasive way of achieving seizure freedom for these patients while minimizing risk to cognitive function."
- Ryder Gwinn, MD
Researchers representing 17 different institutions and organizations gathered in Bethesda, MD to discuss FUS and the blood-brain barrier.
Experts Discuss Research Direction at Blood-Brain Barrier Workshop
The Focused Ultrasound Foundation and the Kinetics Foundation organized a workshop in September to discuss the state of the technology, current challenges, and future research directions for using focused ultrasound to reversibly open the blood-brain barrier and allow the delivery of drugs directly to the brain for treatment of cancer, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and other central nervous system disorders.
Richard Merkin, MD, created a fellowship to foster collaboration between the Foundation and other institutions.
Merkin Fellowship Position Open
The Foundation is now seeking applicants for the Richard Merkin Visiting Fellowship in Focused Ultrasound.
The Fellowship in Focused Ultrasound is open to any mid-career or senior scientist or clinician from industry or academia around the world to work with the technical and scientific team at the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in Charlottesville, Virginia for about 12 months. The position will foster collaboration between the Foundation, the Fellow's home institution, and other institutions and will be paid through an annualized stipend of $150,000.
The Fellow will have an opportunity to conduct his or her own original research project in focused ultrasound and will participate in ongoing focused ultrasound research projects to promote collaborative, translational, and clinical research with research teams at the University of Virginia and other institutions. The Fellow will be expected to conduct publishable technical and pre-clinical projects and deliver 1-2 research lectures.
Linsey Phillips, guest speaker from the University of North Carolina, and Rich Price field questions from the audience.
UVA Symposium Spurs Collaboration
On September 4, more than 100 researchers, clinicians, and students from 14 departments attended the UVA Focused Ultrasound Center Evening Symposium.
Presentations from experts covered a wide range of topics, including developments in MRI technology for focused ultrasound (FUS) applications, FUS-mediated drug delivery, and clinical and pre-clinical brain studies. The symposium also highlighted novel applications, such as exploring the use of FUS to aid traditional immunotherapy and treat osteoarthritic pain (see related story in this issue). This work showcases not only the versatility of the technology, but the breadth of indications on the horizon in FUS research.
First Patient Treated in Essential Tremor Pivotal Trial
The first essential tremor patient in the pivotal trial for the ExAblate Neuro Focused Ultrasound System has been treated at Stanford, and the study is starting at the University of Virginia, Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle, and Yonsei University Medical Center in Seoul, Korea.
The trial is a multicenter, double-blinded, randomized study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of treatment using the ExAblate Neuro in medication-refractory essential tremor patients. The study builds upon promising pilot studies funded by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation that demonstrated the preliminary safety and effectiveness of FUS in treating target areas deep inside the brain. These studies were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet Neurology.
"This work is important because the technical challenges that it solves will be applicable to many other treatment areas that require beam focusing and temperature measurements in fat."
- Allison Payne, PhD
University of Utah Awarded $2.5M from NCI to Develop Treatment for Breast Cancer
The National Cancer Institute has awarded Dennis Parker, PhD, and his team of researchers at the Utah Center for Advanced Imaging Research (part of the University of Utah School of Medicine) funding to further their work using focused ultrasound to treat breast cancer. After completing successful initial studies funded by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, the Utah group was able to secure this prestigious R01 award to continue this promising work.
"This NCI grant would likely have not been funded had we not had support from the FUS Foundation."
Figure from the manuscript depicting the adoption roadmap.
"Since 2006 and the founding of the FUSF, there has been a 70% increase in the number of diseases and conditions being treated or in clinical studies"
Imaging in Medicine: State of the Technology
Scientists at the Foundation have published a comprehensive review of the state of the technology for focused ultrasound in the August 2013 issue of Imaging in Medicine. The manuscript, entitled "Image-Guided Focused Ultrasound: State of the Technology and the Challenges That Lie Ahead," provides an executive summary on:
JTU Article of the Month – Clinical Predictors of Successful Magnetic Resonance-guided Focused Ultrasound for Uterine Leiomyoma
Will focused ultrasound work on every fibroid? In the September issue, The Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound published a manuscript that describes the Mayo Clinic's experience in successfully using focused ultrasound to treat uterine fibroids.