The 4th International Focused Ultrasound Symposium, held October 12-16, exceeded expectations – with the largest attendance to date and an unprecedented number of presentations on important clinical and translational research.
We are delighted to see the Symposium fulfilling the goal of serving as a conduit for fostering collaboration in addition to enabling clinical and scientific communities to share data and exchange ideas. The feedback has been incredibly positive:
“This Symposium offers a chance to see how focused ultrasound is being used in other fields of medicine and gives a broad view to the researcher and clinician. This is essential to pushing acceptance of therapeutic ultrasound as an emerging technology.”
“It is very important to have the networking that the Symposium provides.”
“Among the best conferences in any field!”
This special report provides highlights from the Symposium. A full summary of the proceedings will be available later this year.
The 2014 Focused Ultrasound Symposium by the Numbers
The Twittersphere was active during the Symposium, and all of the tweets (including several photos) can be found under the hashtag #FUSF2014
Frederic Moll, MD, who helped establish the field of robotics to transform surgery, challenged attendees to take their ideas to the next level.
Andrew von Eschenbach, MD, addressed the importance of integrating discovery, development, and delivery to accelerate progress for medical solutions.
IBM’s prolific inventor Rick Hamilton emphasized that strong global intellectual property systems encourage innovation and that innovation is key for growth and should be the top priority for business development.
Jin Woo Chang, MD, presents results of his OCD study
Research Highlights for Brain Disorders, Cancer, and Pediatrics
The 200 presentations and posters at the Symposium used varying mechanisms of focused ultrasound (FUS) technology to investigate a wide range of diseases and conditions. Highlights of research on new applications include:
Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders
Enrollment has been completed for the essential tremor pivotal clinical trial, and final results should be available next year.
A Korean study demonstrated success using FUS to treat patients with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD); the team now plans to study patients battling depression.
A Japanese study suggests that FUS is effective as a local treatment for early breast cancer, potentially replacing surgery.
Promising research was presented on using FUS to treat pancreatic cancer, with encouraging local response and survival for stage 3 and 4 patients.
A feasibility study at Stanford shows potential for FUS to treat benign and malignant soft tissue tumors.
There is significant interest in using FUS for enhanced immunotherapy, to incite an antitumor immune response and potentially enable more effective treatment of a variety of cancers.
FUS could be an effective treatment for osteoid osteoma, a painful bone tumor that usually affects children.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden delighted attendees with a visit to the Symposium’s major networking event, the poster reception, where he perused posters on display and spoke with researchers about their work.
“We extend our thanks to Vice President Biden for coming to see what the field of focused ultrasound is accomplishing,” said Neal F. Kassell, MD, Chairman of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation. “To have him spend time engaging with researchers about their work energized the entire meeting.”
Argo Mastermind Tony Mendez Announces Battle with Parkinson’s Disease, Support for Focused Ultrasound
Tony and Jonna Mendez with Andrew von Eschenbach, MD and Neal F. Kassell, MD
Former CIA spymaster Tony Mendez spoke publicly for the first time about his battle with Parkinson’s disease in a special session at the Symposium. Tony and his wife, Jonna, addressed his Parkinson’s diagnosis, his recent deep brain stimulation treatment, and their hope that focused ultrasound might soon be a noninvasive treatment option for others suffering. The discussion was moderated by Washington Post reporter Michael Rosenwald, and subsequently published in the Post. Today.com also reported on the news.
The 2014 Symposium was our best attended meeting to date. We want to continue to meet the needs of the focused ultrasound clinical and research communities. Take a moment to complete our brief survey about the presentations, events and your overall experience. Your thoughtful responses will help us plan the 2016 meeting. Please complete the survey by October 30.
The Foundation has been proud to collaborate with DOTmed Healthcare Business News as our media partner for the 2014 Symposium. Copies of the September issue of HCBN featuring an article by Foundation Chairman, Neal F. Kassell, MD, were distributed to all attendees. We extend our thanks to the team at DOTmed HCBN for partnering with us to help spread awareness of this important technology.
Thank you to Honorary Symposium President, Feng Wu, MD, PhD, and the committees, moderators, panelists, sponsors, and exhibitors.
The Symposium requires extensive preparation and planning. The Foundation is grateful to everyone who worked with us to make this year’s meeting a success.