Sunnybrook Centre of Excellence Accelerating Progress Through Collaboration
The Sunnybrook team
The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is honored to recognize Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto as a Centre of Excellence, joining five other luminary sites.
“With an unparalleled team of scientists and clinicians, Sunnybrook has been in the vanguard of focused ultrasound innovation, making groundbreaking progress on many fronts,” says Foundation chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD. “They are a model for other sites – not only because of their world-class knowledge and experience, but also for the collaborations that they have forged with institutions across specialties and geographies.”
Sunnybrook has one of the most comprehensive and successful focused ultrasound (FUS) research programs in the world, with technical, scientific, and clinical experts accelerating progress. The Centre is led by pioneering physicist Kullervo Hynynen, PhD and neurosurgeon/scientist Nir Lipsman, MD, PhD. “In one institution, we have all of the key players and expertise to advance a pipeline from hypothesis to idea generation, technical development, preclinical modeling, and on to clinical trials and commercial treatment,” says Lipsman. “I think that it is truly unprecedented.”
The support for FUS emanates from the top. “Focused ultrasound is one of the jewels in the crown at Sunnybrook,” says Barry McLellan, Sunnybrook’s President and CEO. “Our vision as an academic health sciences centre is to invent the future of health care, and we believe that with focused ultrasound, we truly are inventing the future. This is not just for the patients we treat here; we are having an impact around the globe.”
Former Medtronic Chairman Bill Hawkins Elected to Foundation Board
Former Chairman and CEO of Medtronic, Bill Hawkins, has been elected to the Foundation’s Board of Directors.
“I have had the privilege of spending my career at the forefront of medical technology innovation. And focused ultrasound represents the future of non-invasive care – improving outcomes while lowering complications and costs,” says Hawkins. “I am excited to have the opportunity to contribute to this remarkable Foundation that is catalyzing the field and breaking through barriers to speed the process for this life-saving technology to reach patients as soon as possible.”
A comprehensive summary of the presentations given during the Foundation’s 2016 Symposium has now been published on our website. New this year, the report includes links to videos of each speaker, allowing readers to click through and watch the presentations. From brain to bone to cancer immunotherapy and beyond, the publication covers every abstract presented. The Foundation archives summaries from each Symposium, Workshop, and White Paper on our website, along with an annual State of the Field report.
“Exposing this group to the work being done in focused ultrasound is critical to our mission and theirs,” says Kassell. “The future of medicine is a part of world economic growth, and our participation on a global scale matches the growth of focused ultrasound worldwide.”
Advertising technology pioneer Michael Donovan, Vice Chairman of Mediaocean, is no stranger to revolutionary ideas. Donovan supports the Foundation’s work to ensure that a game-changing technology like focused ultrasound will fulfill its potential to transform the future of medicine. Donovan met Foundation Chairman Neal Kassell, MD, in Wyoming and was immediately captivated by the promise of medical innovation to change the world. He recently gave one million dollars to support the Foundation.
At the behest of Gene and Terry Lockhart, the Foundation has established the Andrew J. Lockhart Fellowship for focused ultrasound research into solid tumors to honor their son Andrew who passed away in September after a hard-fought battle with cancer at the age of 39.
The Fellowship will enable research on the use of focused ultrasound to treat a variety of tumors including those in the brain, breast, prostate, liver, pancreas, and lung and provides an important opportunity for donors to honor Andrew.
We maintain a full Event Calendar on website, and we are looking for 2017 meetings. You can tell us about any focused ultrasound related event and add it to our calendar. Help us keep the community informed of all meetings that include focused ultrasound!
The patient plays his guitar to test the treatment effectiveness
World’s First Focal Hand Dystonia Patient Treated with Focused Ultrasound
Researchers in Japan have treated a patient with hand dystonia with focused ultrasound (FUS) for the first time, enabling a classical guitarist to play music again.
The patient is part of a clinical trial led by Takaomi Taira, MD, PhD, assessing the feasibility and safety of using MR-guided FUS to ablate the ventrooralis (Vo) nucleus of the thalamus for the treatment of focal hand dystonia. Dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary, sustained muscle contractions that frequently cause twisting or abnormal posture. The study is being supported by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation.
Clinical Trial Shows Promise for Pancreatic Cancer
Researchers in Norway have completed a clinical trial indicating that delivering chemotherapy through low-intensity focused ultrasound (FUS) and microbubbles may prolong the physical health of patients with pancreatic cancer. The study results showed a median survival 17.6 months, compared to historical control group survival of 8.9 months.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is the fourth most lethal cancer in the western world. The study, published last month in the Journal of Controlled Releaseand led by principal investigator Georg Dimcevski, MD, PhD, associate professor at the Institute of Medicine, University of Bergen, Norway showed that using focused ultrasound and microbubbles to help deliver the standard chemotherapy treatment may be a breakthrough in improving the outlook for these patients.
The Foundation has produced a short historical video from a 1972 Swedish television news program. This video follows Dr. Petter Lindstrom performing psychosurgery with focused ultrasound at Children’s Hospital San Francisco. Many advances have been made in the 40 years since this procedure was performed, delivering focused ultrasound directly to the brain with part of the skull removed. This footage was provided by a patient to Dr. Dan Leksell, son of Dr. Lars Leksell, the inventor of radiosurgery.
A research group in China found that gene transfection with MRgFUS protected rats from Parkinson’s progression. See Treatment of Parkinson's disease in Rats by Nrf2 Transfection using MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound Delivery of Nanomicrobubbles in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.
In another combination study, nanoparticles plus ultrasound may have the potential to help breast cancer cells overcome multi-drug resistance. See Synergistic Effects of Negative-charged Nanoparticles Assisted by Ultrasound on the Reversal Multidrug Resistance Phenotype in Breast Cancer Cells in Ultrasonics Sonochemistry.
JTU Article of the Month – Can Ultrasound Aid Bone Healing?
Based on studies that have shown that low-intensity pulsed ultrasound stimulation can increase bone metabolism and accelerate bone healing, a group of researchers in Brazil investigated one possible protocol. Although their results did not achieve statistically significant improvements, they suggest further studies of multiple parameters at different stages of bone healing. See The influence of Low-intensity Physiotherapeutic Ultrasound on the Initial Stage of Bone Healing in Rats: An Experimental and Simulation Study in The Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound.
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Medicare Establishes Payment Level for Treatment of Tremor
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has set the institutional payment for focused ultrasound treatment for essential tremor at approximately $10,000. After two years CMS will reevaluate the payment level based on the actual costs of treatments performed during that interval.
Focused ultrasound has the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for many patients suffering with essential tremor. For this potential to be realized, focused ultrasound must be widely adopted as a standard of care, which requires evidence of safety and efficacy and sufficient reimbursement to allow healthcare institutions to acquire the equipment and train physicians to use it. READ MORE >
Verasonics Develops Flexible, High Tech Ultrasound for Research
Seattle Area-based Verasonics designs and develops a programmable research ultrasound platform that optimally combines energy application and image monitoring all in one for focused ultrasound (FUS) research, development, and commercialization. In addition to therapy, Verasonics’ research ultrasound systems are used for investigation in novel imaging techniques, physics, materials testing, education, and other applications.
From supplying researchers with powerful, flexible benchtop systems to licensing their intellectual property to large and small companies, Verasonics is seeking to enhance their contribution to the FUS community. “We are expanding our portfolio of products dedicated to focused ultrasound,” says Lauren Pflugrath, President and CEO. “In 2017 we will be introducing a portfolio of new HIFU and imaging array combinations and tools for use together with the full range of our Vantage Research Systems. We will offer budget-friendly options fit for researchers who are just getting started as well as solutions for those who desire to perform focused ultrasound preclinical research and clinical research under IRB.”
Market research company Frost & Sullivan has awarded their 2016 European Prostate Ablation Systems New Product Innovation Award to Profound Medical for the TULSA-PRO system. Profound’s real-time MR-guided transurethral prostate ablation device received the CE Mark in April, is now commercially available in Europe, and can be used with Siemens or Philips MRI scanners. READ MORE >
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