40 Years of Focused Ultrasound: Pioneer Shares Wisdom with Foundation and UVA
Dr. Kassell welcomes Dr. Naren Sanghvi. “The visit has been fantastic. I consider it a privilege to finally meet one of the true pioneers in the field,” said Dr. Kassell.
Focused ultrasound technology pioneer and entrepreneur Naren Sanghvi, PhD visited the University of Virginia (UVA) and the Foundation on July 8th to discuss prostate cancer treatment and the future of the field.
Mr. Sanghvi is a true legend, having begun work with focused ultrasound in the Fry brothers’ laboratory at Indiana University (IU) 40 years ago. Following his work on a system to treat brain disorders for several years, he and Dr. FJ Fry sought other potential applications of the technology. After discussions with the IU urology chair in 1986, he began the pursuit of treating the prostate with focused ultrasound and formed a company, Focused Surgery, which eventually became SonaCare Medical. Today, SonaCare is a leader in the field, with 14,000 prostate cancer patients treated using their Sonablate System at 250 clinical sites worldwide.
At the UVA Department of Urology, Mr. Sanghvi met with clinicians and scientists to discuss the Sonablate system and share long-term clinical data. He showed results from a Japanese study of more than 800 prostate cancer patients. The ongoing study includes patients that have been treated with focused ultrasound over the last 13 years with at least two years of follow-up. The results show excellent survival rates and low complications. He is excited about the possibility of the system being available to treat men with prostate cancer commercially in the United States. SonaCare’s system is currently under regulatory review, and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will host an Advisory Committee Panel meeting on October 2, 2014 to assess the Sonablate 450 for the treatment of recurrent prostate cancer.
In addition to enthusiasm for Sonablate, Mr. Sanghvi is very positive about the entire field. “Therapeutic ultrasound is a significant tool. As we obtain regulatory approvals and prove ourselves in the clinical arena, it is going to have a major impact on the way that we manage and treat benign and malignant disease.” He also believes the Foundation will be instrumental to the field reaching its full potential. “The Foundation plays a unique and critical role,” Mr. Sanghvi says. “They are great advocates and unbiased representatives of the entire ecosystem. The collaborations and resources they contribute help everybody -- scientists, clinicians, academics, industry, and even patients -- to be successful.”
Interest in the 4th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound has already surpassed expectations, as more than 180 abstracts were received for the upcoming event. Brain research tops the list, followed by liver/pancreas and uterine fibroids. Novel research areas are rapidly expanding--abstracts were also submitted in immunotherapy, neuropathic pain, and pediatric applications, among others.
“The diversity in research matches the clinical momentum that we are seeing in the field," said Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD. “The breadth of clinical indications is swiftly widening." Abstract review and selection is now underway. Acceptance notifications will be sent in late August.
Taking place in October, the Symposium will offer a multifaceted exploration of current and future applications of the technology and feature plenary sessions, panel discussions, poster presentations, and exhibits. There is still time to take advantage of early bird registration fees. Register online before August 29, 2014 and save up to $100.
"In the 21st century we can no longer practice 20th century medicine. We must embrace new technologies, we must embrace Focused Ultrasound." – Richard Merkin, MD
Richard Merkin Visiting Fellowship in Focused Ultrasound
The receipt of a significant gift from Dr. Richard Merkin has allowed the Foundation to create a unique fellowship opportunity for international researchers. Applications are now being accepted. For information on the application process, contact Matt Eames, PhD, Director of Extramural Research, .
The Richard Merkin Visiting Fellowship in Focused Ultrasound brings scientists from around the world to work with the technical and scientific team at the Foundation on specific research projects. The position fosters collaboration between the Foundation, the Fellow's home institution, and other institutions, and carries the potential for an associated academic appointment.
Dr. Shannon Laughlin-Tommaso of The Mayo Clinic’s Fibroid Center presenting an overview of fibroids and treatment options at the FDA meeting
Fibroid Relief’s Executive Director Speaks at FDA Hearing on Fibroid Morcellators
The Executive Director of Fibroid Relief, Justine Atkinson, stood among clinical experts and government decision makers in Silver Spring, MD, on July 10 at an FDA Advisory Committee Meeting regarding the future of morcellator devices used during some procedures to treat fibroids. The FDA recently cautioned the use of morcellators, citing their potential to spread cancer.
Justine reminded the group that there are other, less-invasive procedures that do not use morcellators, such as focused ultrasound. She shared the results from Fibroid Relief’s survey of 1,000 women with fibroids, and highlighted the importance of women having access to and understanding the risks and benefits of the treatment that they choose.
Focused Ultrasound Center of Excellence Receives $1.5 Million Funding Renewal
The newly approved state budget for the Commonwealth of Virginia includes funding for the University of Virginia’s (UVA’s) Focused Ultrasound Center of Excellence. The amount is $1.5 million over two years -- $750,000 each year.
Based on this renewed support, physicians will continue to treat patients in many different clinical areas, including movement disorders and cancers. Clinical and scientific research at the UVA Center will create and support high quality jobs, train numerous students and medical residents, and allow UVA and the Foundation to further collaborate with other institutions worldwide.
The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is proud to connect researchers to disease-specific foundations like MJFF and will continue to do so as part of our mission.
Have you seen a two-dimensional harmonic wave? Can oxytocin improve the effectiveness of focused ultrasound when treating adenomyosis? How many women have needed another type of treatment after focused ultrasound for uterine fibroid ablation, and what peripheral heating concerns should be considered? Recently published work on these topics include: