The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto has launched a multi-center, multi-treatment clinical registry to track and evaluate a range of less invasive treatments for pediatric osteoid osteoma, a benign but painful bone tumor that commonly affects children. Over the next five years, more than 30 international sites will collect outcomes data from 900 children treated for osteoid osteomas with nonsurgical methods – at least 200 of them will have undergone focused ultrasound therapy.
Charles Steger, PhD, led one of the longest and most impactful terms as the 15th president of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). He joined the Foundation’s Board of Directors in 2016 to “make a difference in improving the human condition.” Dr. Steger died May 6, and we are honored to name the Foundation’s internship program in his memory.
Philip Bourne, PhD, Stephenson Chair of Data Science and Director of the Data Science Institute at the University of Virginia, recently led a Foundation webinar exploring data science in biomedicine. He addressed successes and failures thus far, whether or not we are seeing a paradigm shift, and what organizations and researchers can do. The webinar was broadcast via Facebook Live.
CNBC's Andrew Zaleski recently reported on the promise of focused ultrasound as a therapy for a range of neurological conditions and the role that device manufacturer Insightec has played in advancing the field. The article also highlighted Koch Disruptive Industries’ multi-million dollar investment in the Israeli company. Foundation chairman, Neal F. Kassell, MD, explained how the field of focused ultrasound has evolved over the past decade.
Progress in the evolution of focused ultrasound to become a standard of care continues to advance, and many milestones have been achieved already this year. We encourage you to read the Foundation's 2018 Spring Report and hope you will share it broadly.
Applications are now being accepted for this annual $75,000 cash award established in memory of Andrew Lockhart. The award is given to an investigator who demonstrates outstanding potential to contribute to advancing cancer treatment using focused ultrasound. In 2017, the prize was awarded to the University of Virginia’s Richard Price, PhD.
Bonnie D’Ettore suffered from debilitating tremors for more than 10 years, making everyday tasks like using tape, eating, and signing her name nearly impossible. Her journey is featured on Superhuman, a Freethink original series published on Facebook. The series is intended to inform, challenge, and inspire people to think differently and make a difference. Watch the episode called “Brain Surgery Without Sound” as Bonnie undergoes focused ultrasound therapy at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Focused ultrasound was recently featured on several episodes of the popular hospital drama series, “Grey's Anatomy.” The show, which averages more than eight million viewers per week and airs Thursdays on ABC, included a four-episode storyline in which focused ultrasound treatment was part of an “innovation contest” among doctors to successfully treat a patient with a brain tumor.
In a North American first, researchers at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto have launched a pilot clinical trial to determine the safety, feasibility, and preliminary efficacy of using focused ultrasound to help patients with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder. See our announcement to watch video stories from the first patients treated and find enrollment information for Canadian citizens.
Michael Temple, MD, is a Canadian interventional radiologist who has performed groundbreaking work using focused ultrasound to treat pediatric patients suffering from osteoid osteomas – benign but painful bone tumors. We spoke with Dr. Temple to learn more about his focused ultrasound work and plans to investigate other pediatric applications.
In a study that has gained the attention of the scientific community and the media, an interdisciplinary group of scientists and clinicians at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a novel procedure to biopsy brain tumors using focused ultrasound.
Alfred Obermayer, MD, Principal Investigator in Theraclion’s varicose vein study, recently presented the trial’s initial data at the International Vein Congress in Miami, Florida. The research is assessing the feasibility, efficacy, and tolerability of using focused ultrasound to reduce varicose veins. Three-month follow-up data show promising results with no significant side effects.
The Foundation is pleased to release Kranion, a highly visual and interactive, open-source transcranial focused ultrasound modeling system for conducting research. The software allows scientists to “see” how the paths of focused ultrasound’s invisible sound waves behave as they pass through a skull. Kranion’s capabilities enable researchers to visualize a proposed treatment plan, model skull geometry, and calculate skull density ratios for patient selection.
In 2017, Foundation Brain Program Technical Director John Snell, PhD, spoke at the 25th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) on the history and current neurological applications of focused ultrasound, including a preview of his Kranion treatment modeling software. That presentation is now online as part of ISMRM’s online education program to promote lifelong learning and practice improvement in the magnetic resonance community. Courses are available at basic, intermediate, and advanced levels.
The International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU) recently held its 18th International Symposium for Therapeutic Ultrasound in Nashville, Tennessee. During the symposium, the Foundation’s Director of Extramural Programs, Matt Eames, PhD, was elected to serve a three-year term on ISTU’s Board of Directors. The plenary and educational sessions included numerous focused ultrasound topics with more than 140 presentations specifically related to focused ultrasound.
The 35th Annual Meeting of the Society for Thermal Medicine (STM) was held May 7–10 in Tucson, Arizona. The Foundation helped sponsor this international event, which attracted attendees from the fields of engineering, physics, materials science, and biology. The selected focused ultrasound abstracts described two novel preclinical systems, quality assurance methodology, ultrasound beam modeling, and applications for brain, oncology, immunotherapy, and drug delivery.
Is it possible for genetic therapy to enable long-term treatment of neurological disorders? Can technological advances reduce the time it takes to heal chronic wounds? Has focused ultrasound been accepted into clinical practice for physicians who treat patients with essential tremor? Scientists are asking, and answering, these questions in this month’s research highlights.
In December, Insightec announced a $150 million Series E funding round led by Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), a new subsidiary of Koch Industries focused on finding and funding innovative and emerging companies. The Foundation recently spoke with KDT President Chase Koch, KDT Managing Director Brett Chugg, Insightec CEO and Chairman of the Board Maurice R. Ferré, MD, and Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD, about the unprecedented investment and what it means for the future of focused ultrasound.
Two focused ultrasound manufacturers recently announced important regulatory milestones in the Asian market. In China, Profound Medical has gained Food and Drug Administration approval to use Sonalleve® for the treatment of uterine fibroids. In Japan, Insightec is now under pre-market approval from the Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Agency to use Exablate Neuro to treat mobility, rigidity, or dyskinesia in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
A new, open innovation challenge from the Center for Advancing Innovation will launch 20 startup companies focused on creating therapeutics, vaccines, and devices for veteran-related illnesses. The VABeachBio Innovation Challenge is a free, virtual program where participants can earn support from world-class mentors, receive accelerator training and funding, gain media attention from noteworthy outlets, and be considered for best-in-class incubator space. The deadline to enter is June 15.