Media around the globe have reported on the blood-brain barrier opening at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. There have been more than 70 stories about this milestone – from leading international news sources like the BBC to scientific publications, community papers, and social media.
The Foundation is proud to support this project and to have the opportunity to work with the team at Sunnybrook, and the many scientists and engineers at other institutions who laid the groundwork for this first-in-human study.
Our support of groundbreaking focused ultrasound research is made possible by generous donations. Read more about one donor whose family’s experience with brain tumors led him to support our mission.
"The media interest in this story demonstrates what an incredible achievement this represents for the treatment of brain tumors and potentially other diseases. If the study continues with this type of success, it will be a seminal moment for the entire field of neuroscience." – Foundation Chairman, Neal F. Kassell, MD
"The multidisciplinary group of participants generated a great discussion about the future role of FUS in treating GBM. Consensus was that FUS-induced BBB opening and immunomodulation have the most potential to make an impact in this devastating disease." – Foundation Chief Scientific Officer Jessica Foley, PhD
Glioblastoma Workshop Charts Future Research Path
Just days after the BBB procedure, experts from around the world convened in Charlottesville for a workshop dedicated to defining the role for FUS in treating glioblastoma multiform (GBM). They gathered to discuss the state of the field, relevant treatment mechanisms, and future directions for using focused ultrasound to treat these deadly brain tumors.
The November 9-10 meeting was attended by experts from more than 20 international institutions, including neuro-oncologists, neurosurgeons, neuroscientists, physicists, and biomedical engineers. Future collaborations and projects were developed during the workshop, which also included representatives from industry, FDA, and NIH. A white paper to include road maps for future technical, pre-clinical, and clinical work will be available soon.
Alzheimer’s Workshop White Paper Available
The final report from the September Alzheimer’s disease workshop is now available on our website. The white paper summarizes presentations, includes lessons learned while conducting experiments through opening the blood-brain barrier, identifies gaps in evidence, and reviews the first proposed clinical protocol to study the safety and feasibility of using FUS for the treatment of Alzheimer’s.
To help the Foundation in our mission to advance focused ultrasound for brain cancer or other diseases, please contact Mike Cashman or Nora Seilheimer.
Personal Experience Inspires Donor
The clinical trial at Sunnybrook to open the BBB is made possible by contributions from our donors, including a generous personal gift from Jack Cullather.
Although it’s unimaginable to have it occur twice in one family, Jack lost his son, Chris, and then his wife, Jean, to brain tumors. These extraordinary experiences led him to establish the Cullather Brain Tumor and Quality of Life Center at St. Mary’s Bon Secours Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, which offers comfort, care, advocacy, and information to brain tumor patients and their families. “I’m interested in focused ultrasound because of its potential to reach tumors that other technologies cannot reach,” says Mr. Cullather. “The Foundation’s approach to catalyze the approval process excites me and inspires me to get involved.”
Symposium Registration Now Open
Early bird registration and hotel reservations are now open for the 5th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound, scheduled for August 28 – September 1, 2016 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Maryland.
Early bird registrants save up to $100 off the regular rate. Students and government employees receive an additional discount. Register for the full meeting or pay a daily rate tailored to your specific areas of interest. Symposium registrants are eligible for a reduced hotel rate; so, be sure to use the Symposium’s hotel registration link.
In her October 30th webinar, UVA Professor Carolyn Engelhard outlined the Affordable Care Act's history and current status, described its mechanisms for increased insurance coverage, and discussed why some components have been unsuccessful. WATCH NOW >
On November 5th, Cyril Lafon, PhD, Research Director of the Laboratory of Therapeutic Applications of Ultrasound at INSERM, discussed the way that his laboratory is helping to test, validate, and expedite medical research from the laboratory into the marketplace using examples from two companies, Carthera and EDAP-TMS. WATCH NOW >
Charles Cain from the University of Michigan presents at IEEE
Merkin Fellow Attends IEEE Ultrasound Symposium
The 2015 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) International Ultrasonics Symposium was held at the Taipei International Convention Center October 21-24 in Taiwan. The Foundation’s Richard Merkin Visiting Fellow, Dong-guk Paeng, PhD, attended the symposium’s focused ultrasound sessions. The meeting features scientific presentations in biomedical ultrasound transducers, electronic systems, acoustics, signal and image processing techniques.
Therapeutic ultrasound had a large role at this technical meeting, as many FUS researchers from North America, Europe, and Asia attended and presented their work.
"CIMU continues as a very strong group. We are doing thorough fundamental research, starting companies, continuing well past 20 years on an NIH Program Project Grant, running a molecular imaging/therapy center, and we have more industry sponsors than ever. " – Tom Matula, PhD
Translation and Commercialization Flourish at the University of Washington
Eight years ago, focused ultrasound pioneer Larry Crum, PhD, transitioned away from directing the department that houses the focused ultrasound efforts at the University of Washington (UW), but under the leadership of Tom Matula, PhD, it has continued to grow into a powerhouse for researching and commercializing focused ultrasound technologies.
“I am in the process of disentangling myself from professional activities in anticipation of retirement,” said Dr. Crum. “Tom has been running the show for the past 8 years, and it is flourishing with new ideas, new projects, new grants, and industry support.” Tom laughs, saying, “Larry continues to mentor young staff, engage in scientific debates, and provide professional and personal wisdom to us all.”
The abstract deadline for the 16th annual meeting of the International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound, taking place in Tel Aviv, Israel from March 14-16, 2016, has been extended until November 30, 2015. This year, the abstract book will be published electronically, in place of proceedings. Abstracts can be submitted here.
Highlights of this year’s exciting program include:
Parallel clinical and technical sessions
Live FUS brain treatment to be broadcast during sessions
Innovation Day and talks by Venture Capital funds/startup entrepreneurs and Israel: Start-up nation central
The November issue of Scientific American MIND features “Sound Surgery,” an 8-page story by neurosurgeons Stephen J. Monteith, Ryder Gwinn, and David W. Newell about focused ultrasound and the essential tremor clinical trial at Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle. The article describes how focused ultrasound works to reach targets deep in the brain, mentions its potential application in treating stroke and other brain diseases, and follows the experience of a woman who participated in the essential tremor clinical trial.
JTU Article of the Month – Acoustic Droplet Vaporization
Liquid-state nano-emulsions, a subject of interest to focused ultrasound researchers around the world, are known to undergo phase-transition in response to focused ultrasound exposure to form gas-filled microbubbles. These agents possess unique advantages over the use of microbubbles as a direct injection, including increased stability in the body’s circulation and improved target-specific amplification of the effects of focused ultrasound. The review article, “Application of acoustic droplet vaporization in ultrasound therapy” highlights the November issue of The Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound. The full-text, open-access article is available on the JTU website.
On November 9th, EDAP announced that they had received 510(k) clearance from the FDA to market Ablatherm in the US for the ablation of prostate tissue. Chief Executive Officer Marc Oczachowski commented, "With an established US sales and services infrastructure, the pieces are in place to begin deploying Ablatherm devices very quickly, and we look forward to bringing the technology to urologists as well as patients in need." EDAP’s robotic-assisted HIFU system uses a transrectal approach and integrated ultrasound imaging. The story has been picked up by DOTmed Healthcare Business News.
New Focused Ultrasound Companies Formed in Taiwan
Two new focused ultrasound companies have formed in Taiwan. The Foundation’s 2015 Merkin Fellow, Dong-guk-Paeng, PhD, recently traveled to Taiwan and met with:
Dr. Hao-Li Liu, who started NaviFUS, a company dedicated to providing a solution to deliver drugs across the blood-brain barrier. They have invented a “neuronavigation-guided” FUS system.
Dr. Ihyuan Kuo, Vice President at EpiSonica, a company that is developing ultrasound systems for women’s health. Calling their technology the “green surgery of the future,” EpiSonica has developed an MRI-guided uterine fibroid ablation system called ArcBlate MRgHIFU.