The patient and staff holding plates of cake following the treatment. Photo: Pioter Fliter, Rambam Medical Center
ISTU attendees were virtually transported via teleconference from the meeting space to a high-tech operating room at Rambam Medical Center to witness a live broadcast of a focused ultrasound treatment on a patient with essential tremor.
The three-hour procedure was conducted by neurosurgeon Menashe Zaaroor, neurophysiologist Alon Sinai, neurologist Ilana Schlesinger, and radiologist Dorit Goldsher, and the results were immediate. The patient, a baker, has not been able to cut cake for customers in years. Following the procedure, she happily served slices to the clinical staff. READ MORE >
The Foundation’s 2015 Year In Review Report is now available online. It highlights strides made over the past year in clinical research, FDA approvals for the prostate, and the swirl of awareness created by John Grisham’s The Tumor. The report also outlines the Foundation’s efforts in 2016: clearing the logjam in a number of clinical projects and helping to set the stage for a successful US launch for treating essential tremor. We encourage you to share it broadly.
"We created this video to give a face and a voice to focused ultrasound, and to encourage the public to support this treatment… " – Foundation Chairman, Neal Kassell, MD
Share Our Video: Bringing the Future Into Focus
The Foundation has produced a video demonstrating focused ultrasound's potential to revolutionize the treatment of many disorders. The short film, “Bringing the Future Into Focus,” captures the experiences of patients, researchers, physicians, industry leaders, and supporters of this “breakthrough transformational approach.” Members of the FUS community should share it on their websites, social media, and with key stakeholders.
The video features the story of Rick, whose outlook was transformed following FUS treatment at the University of Maryland. We see his challenges with conducting simple tasks, his treatment, and his drinking steadily from a glass of water just minutes after the procedure – for the first time since childhood. “Focused ultrasound can give someone a new lease on life,” he states.
"A heartfelt thank you for making my life these past 5 years possible. I have lived to see 2 great grandchildren born and been to Hawaii!" – Doris
Happy 95th Birthday, Doris!
The Foundation extends warm birthday wishes to longtime supporter Doris McArdle, who recently reached the age of 95 years young. Mrs. McArdle underwent focused ultrasound treatment for a benign pancreatic tumor at St. Mary’s Hospital in London by Wadyslaw Gedroyc, MD when she was 89 years old. The treatment ablated about a fourth of her 12-centimeter tumor and relieved her persistent pain.
“I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to contribute to her health and well-being--the success of this procedure is a great encouragement in our efforts to take the utilization of focused ultrasound further for many patients,” wrote Dr. Gedroyc.
The Janice McArdle Cancer Foundation supports the Foundation and donates to clinical trials for metastatic brain tumors and lung cancer. We wish you many more, Doris!
Matt Eames, Dennis Parker, John Snell, and Dong-guk Paeng
"Future treatment of brain tumors, epilepsy, and disorders with targets closer to bone will require temperature monitoring of the entire skull for safe and efficient delivery of FUS." – John Snell, Foundation Brain Program Technical Director
Brain Technical Program Collaborates to Expand the Treatment Envelope
Scientists from the Foundation’s Brain Technical Program have joined with the University of Utah on a project to expand the range of neurological disorders that can be treated with focused ultrasound. Dennis Parker, PhD, and his team at the Utah Center for Advanced Imaging Research recently began the study, “Method for Fully 3D Volumetric Thermometry with Application to Transcranial MRgFUS of the Brain.” Its overall goals are to 1) provide volumetric model-based planning and monitoring tools to overcome current technical limitations, 2) provide safety and efficacy information during treatments, and 3) expand the range of neurological disorders that can be treated.
“Physicians who are using focused ultrasound would like more feedback from the parts of the brain that are not being treated during the procedure,” explains Parker. “Brain tissue is much more sensitive to heat than the rest of the body, and the hope is that the 3D method we are developing will monitor the entire brain simultaneously.”
The Foundation’s Research Award program has funded a collaborative project between Boston University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. With the aim of treating gliomas, Principal Investigators Tyrone Porter, PhD, and Nathan McDannold, PhD, will use focused ultrasound combined with contrast agents to open the blood-tumor barrier and deliver small interfering RNA (siRNA--a protein-blocking biological). Their study will determine if siRNA can block the synthesis of proteins actively involved in the growth and chemoresistance of tumor cells with the hope that it can induce oncogene silencing.
Oncology is the theme for this month’s research review. Recently published focused ultrasound papers include clinical evaluation of HIFU for treating pancreatic cancer, results from a Phase I breast cancer trial, and a 5-year review of outcomes after whole-gland prostate treatment.
JTU Article of the Month – Cerebral Vasospasm Review
To determine whether focused ultrasound could potentially induce therapeutic cerebral vasodilation to be used in the treatment of subarachnoid hemorrhage, researchers at the University of Washington reviewed literature that could support their hypothesis that transcranial FUS could be a viable option. They then discuss potential specific treatment paradigms for focused ultrasound. Read more in The Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound.
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FDA Offers Experiential Learning Program
Attention device manufacturers: Would you like the FDA to know more about your technology as it is being developed?
April 11, 2016 is the deadline to apply for the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) Experiential Learning Program (ELP). ELP is an educational program designed to provide review staff with real-world knowledge of existing and emerging technologies. Because of the rapid pace in which medical device technology evolves, it is essential that CDRH reviewers understand how devices are developed, clinically tested, manufactured, and utilized.
"The significant rise in the number of thyroid treatments since the reinforcing of our strategy is excellent news. It confirms the interest of centers and patients for our technology. Moreover, the opening of new sites proves the profitability of outpatient treatments." – David Caumartin, Theraclion’s CEO
Rapid Growth in Theraclion’s Thyroid Treatment Business
Theraclion reports that thyroid treatment with its Echopulse system has tripled in the past six months and currently about 3 patients per month are being treated in recently opened sites. More than 180 of these procedures have now been conducted with the Echopulse system.
Initially focused on breast fibroadenomas, Theraclion broadened its strategy to include thyroid nodules at the end of 2014. Seven sites offering treatment of thyroid nodules with the Echopulse system have opened in the past year.
The average reimbursement by insurance providers of 2,200€ should allow for a quick return on investment and a significant reduction of health costs compared to traditional approaches.
Forbes has chosen Insightec for its list of the Top 10 Innovative Companies to Watch in 2016. Citing “rapid evolution and disruption of industries that impact our lives and businesses,” the author states that Insightec’s recent technology has produced the kind of hype and investor interest usually reserved for startups, and highlights Exablate’s ability to ablate tumors.
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Two National Cancer Institute Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) of interest to the focused ultrasound research community are PAR-16-058 and PAR-16-059. These FOAs differ from R01s because they are designed to encourage oncology researchers to team with developers of a variety of cancer treatment, prevention, or risk management strategies.