Driven by pioneering radiologist Pejman (Peji) Ghanouni, MD, PhD, and a multidisciplinary team of experts, Stanford University has become a luminary site for focused ultrasound (FUS) research and is laying the groundwork for future clinical success.
“Peji is a model risk-taking innovator for focused ultrasound. He is persistently working inside and outside of Stanford to knock down barriers to progress,” says Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD. “His enthusiasm for the technology is only surpassed by his passion for helping patients.”
His efforts fit well with Stanford’s dedication to investing in the future of medicine. “It has been very encouraging to see so many resources allocated to MRI-guided focused ultrasound,” says Dr. Ghanouni. “At a time when some institutions are demanding an immediate return on investment, our leadership has seen this as an exciting new tool. It wasn't even a matter of convincing them, they see this as part of our mission.”
Stanford has five FUS systems, including an INSIGHTEC Neuro system, two body systems, a prostate system, and the conformal bone system. The University has been a key site for several clinical studies and participates in ongoing trials using FUS to treat fibroids, essential tremor, prostate cancer, and bone metastases. In addition to conducting industry-funded research, Dr. Ghanouni has established a track record of obtaining highly competitive NIH grants to push the envelope of the technology as a solution for other difficult-to-treat conditions, including soft tissue tumors in children and adults, lower back arthritis, and bone metastases in the setting of orthopedic implants.
He currently treats about one FUS patient per week, having treated more than 70 patients in the past few years for bone metastases, uterine fibroids, essential tremor, and soft tissue tumors. Stanford’s leadership recognizes his critical role by enabling him to dedicate part of his time to FUS research and clinical care.
“Stanford is the ideal academic site for a focused ultrasound platform system like INSIGHTEC’s ExAblate,” says Suzanne LeBlang, Chief Medical Officer at the Foundation. “They have Peji at the nucleus to optimize expertise and efficiency across the institution; he works closely with multiple clinical disciplines that are eager to improve patient care. Combined with a world-class team of MR and ultrasound physicists and engineers, each specialty is able to research and implement the technology for a range of conditions.”
Dr. Ghanouni recently traveled to Virginia to meet with Foundation staff and to share his work at an event for Charlottesville community leaders. Read his investigator profile to explore the current landscape at Stanford, his experience with the technology, and his vision for clinical success
"In my eyes, the pros far outweighed the cons." – Jack, 16-year-old patient and hockey team captain
Teenage Patient Captivates Audience at Foundation Event
An event on May 11 hosted by the Foundation in Charlottesville allowed more than 150 supporters, community leaders, scientists, and others to hear about the latest research advances and meet one special patient. Jack Campanile, a courageous 16-year-old high school student from Toronto spoke eloquently about life with disabling pain caused by a benign bone tumor, the decision that he made with his parents to become the first pediatric patient in North America to volunteer for a Foundation-funded clinical trial, and how the treatment gave him his life back. Attendees also heard updates from the Foundation staff and a keynote on the latest advances from Stanford radiologist Pejman Ghanouni, MD, PhD.
Todd Mainprize will lead first clinical trial after the protocol is developed
Alzheimer's Disease Steering Committee to Design Initial Clinical Trial
A new Steering Committee to guide the Foundation’s efforts in developing the use of focused ultrasound (FUS) for treating Alzheimer’s disease (AD) kicked off on May 1st. The primary goal of the group is to devise a protocol for a FUS Phase I clinical safety and feasibility study. This research will be performed at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. Todd Mainprize, MD, will serve as the lead Principal Investigator. The group plans to complete the clinical protocol by the end of the 2015.
Join the Foundation's Alzheimer's Disease Working Group
A new Alzheimer’s disease (AD) Working Group is forming to encourage discussion, create collaboration, and accelerate translational research. With the goal of moving forward the field of FUS for treating AD, researchers who are active in this area or who have an expressed interest in this potentially game changing application should consider joining. Those doing technical, preclinical, and/or clinical research are welcome. Interested clinicians and researchers should contact Jessica Foley, PhD, the Foundation’s Chief Scientific Officer. Join us!
On April 28th, neurologist and Chair of the Foundation’s Alzheimer’s disease (AD) Steering Committee, Steven T. DeKosky presented a 90-minute webinar entitled “Alzheimer's Disease: Introduction to Disease Pathology and Treatment.” The now archived presentation included the history of AD, an overview of the disease pathology, diagnostic parameters, past and current treatment methods, and discussion of focused ultrasound’s potential to impact AD treatment.
On May 6th, neuroscientist Elisa Konofagou, PhD, visited the Foundation and presented a 90-minute webinar on her work using focused ultrasound to facilitate drug delivery across the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Dr. Konofagou and her large scientific team at Columbia University are addressing the urgent need for treatment options that will improve care in degenerative central nervous system diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, which affect millions of patients and remain severely undertreated--in part due to the challenge of crossing the BBB.
"The Foundation's goals are in line with mine and those of my wife, Carita. We invest time in organizations like the Foundation that are achieving great things." – Ned Kelly
Ned Kelly Joins Board of Directors
The Foundation is pleased to welcome Edward J. “Ned” Kelly, III, to its Board of Directors. A seasoned executive in global banking, Mr. Kelly will advise the Foundation in strategic fundraising and facilitation of new engagement.
“Ned is a stellar addition to the Board,” said Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD. “His financial expertise will allow us to expand the already high return on investment that we provide to our supporters. His international business connections fit well with the global scope of our mission. We are grateful for his time, energy, and commitment.”
A comprehensive summary of all of the presentations given during the 4-day 2014 Symposium has now been published on our website. It includes comments from the keynote speakers and each of the abstracts presented.
On May 8th, the Image-Guided Non-Invasive Therapeutic Energy (IGNITE) Consortium met in Cincinnati to discuss using non-invasive therapies like focused ultrasound for treating pediatric diseases. Chief Medical Officer Suzanne LeBlang, MD, attended on behalf of the Foundation. The group’s first project is to create a treatment guidelines paper and international patient registry for osteoid osteoma.
Review Article Recommends FUS as Option for Fibroids
A Clinical Practice Review published in the April 23rd issue of the New England Journal of Medicine by Mayo Clinic Ob/Gyn Elizabeth Stewart, MD, recommends focused ultrasound as an important uterine-conserving treatment that should be an option for women with symptomatic uterine fibroids. We announced its publication on April 30, and it was also featured on the Harvard Health Blog.
MDIC and FDA: Bring Patient Preferences into the Regulatory Process
On May 13th, the Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released important reports on incorporating patient preferences into the regulatory process. In its Report, the MDIC encourages device companies, the FDA, and stakeholders to explore patients’ perspectives on the benefits and risks of new technologies and incorporate those data into the regulatory process. Similarly, the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) and Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) released a draft guidance document on patient preference and the regulatory process.
Abstract Submission is Now Open! Abstracts must be submitted online by July 17. Please visit the conference website for further information, sponsorship opportunities, and the preliminary scientific program.
Special Journal Issue Features Thermal Ultrasound In March, the International Journal of Hyperthermia published a themed issue on thermal ultrasound therapy, exploring how heat and bubbles can be harnessed for therapeutic benefit. Guest edited by Gail ter Haar, Vol. 31, No. 2 provides readers with an insight into ultrasound’s versatility as an energy source. With articles on ultrasound’s therapeutic capacity, this issue is free to access online until the end of the year. READ MORE >
FDA on Ultrasound Field Characterization Methods FDA scientists compared experimental and computational methods of characterizing the thermal and acoustic parameters of therapeutic ultrasound fields in water and tissue-mimicking material. READ MORE >
JTU Article of the Month - FUS for Breast Fibroadenomas
A comparative treatment study is now open at King’s College in London, evaluating Theraclion’s Echopulse system in the treatment of 50 women with breast fibroadenomas compared to women who underwent alternative treatments. The full-text, open-access article is available on the JTU website.
INSIGHTEC Launches Neurosurgery System on 1.5T MRI Platform
INSIGHTEC has expanded its ExAblate Neuro neurosurgery system for use in 1.5T MRI machines. Because the 1.5T platform is the most common system, this should allow significant market expansion. It is immediately available in Europe and pending regulatory approval in other areas.
According to MassDevice.com, a reverse merger will raise $24 million to support clinical testing for prostate cancer in Profound’s 110-patient pivotal trial of the Tulsa-Pro MRI-guided focused ultrasound ablation device. Shares will trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange after the reverse merger with Mira IV Acquisition Corp.