Centers of Excellence

Established in 2009, the Centers of Excellence program recognizes luminary sites for their excellence in translational and clinical research, training, and patient care.

University of Virginia | Charlottesville, VA

The Foundation’s first Center of Excellence was established at the University of Virginia (UVA) in September 2009 through a public-private partnership between the Foundation, the Commonwealth of Virginia, UVA, Insightec, and GE. The Center has a strong history in brain research, having pioneered clinical trials for essential tremor and Parkinsonian tremor, as well as technical and preclinical studies for neurological disorders. The UVA team also treats uterine fibroids and bone metastases, conducts cancer research, and is currently spearheading the world’s first clinical trials combining focused ultrasound and immunotherapy.

The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden | London, England

In September 2013, the Foundation and Philips entered an innovative public-private collaboration with the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden National Health Service Foundation Trust to create a Center of Excellence in London. The Center created a state-of-the-art resource for clinicians and scientists working on focused ultrasound therapy, developing clinical evidence in oncology, and establishing best practices, treatment standards, and protocols.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital | Boston, MA

Brigham and Women’s Hospital was named a Center of Excellence in 2015. More than 50 focused ultrasound researchers in three different laboratories span the Boston campus of Brigham and Women’s Hospital where, in conjunction with Harvard Medical School, they are pioneering innovative uses of focused ultrasound and advancing these new approaches from bench to bedside. Read the investigator profile from September 2015 featuring three focused ultrasound leaders at the site.

Stanford University | Stanford, CA

The Center of Excellence at Stanford University was established in 2016 and focuses on several clinical and preclinical projects. These include industry-sponsored trials using focused ultrasound to treat bone metastases, uterine fibroids, essential tremor, and prostate cancer, as well as investigator-initiated trials to treat soft tissue tumors. Preclinical projects have included the development of reference less methods for MR thermometry in the brain, as well as respiratory-compensated focused ultrasound in treatment of porcine liver during free-breathing. These clinical and preclinical projects involve close collaboration with clinical colleagues in radiology, obstetrics and gynecology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, neurosurgery, neurology, orthopedic surgery, urology, pathology, immunology, and electrical and mechanical engineering. Learn more about this site.

The University of Maryland | Baltimore, MD

The Center of Excellence at the University of Maryland (UMD) was established in 2016. At present, the UMD departments of neurosurgery, radiology, and neurology are collaborating to study treatment of movement disorders, chronic neuropathic pain, brain tumors, and the use of enhanced drug delivery. In addition, their immunomodulation studies range from investigating cell systems to animal models and human clinical trials. Read the site profile from September 2016.

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre | Toronto, Canada

Established as a Center of Excellence in 2016, the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is conducting research for focused ultrasound in neurology, neurosurgery, urology, orthopedics, gynecology, radiation oncology, and biomedical engineering. The Center also has studies underway for Alzheimer’s disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, breast cancer brain metastases, and others. Read the site profile from November 2016.

INSERM – LabTAU | Lyon, France

In February 2017, INSERM Unit 1032, the Laboratory of Therapeutic Applications of Ultrasound (LabTAU) at the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM) was named a Focused Ultrasound Center of Excellence. LabTAU conducts significant translational and clinical research with a multidisciplinary, highly qualified, and complementary team of physicians and scientists. The Center has special expertise in commercializing technology and creating strategic interfaces between engineering and medicine. Read the site profile from February 2017.

Physics for Medicine Paris | Paris, France

In December 2019, Physics for Medicine Paris became the third Center of Excellence in Europe. The site focuses on accelerating the development of ultrasound-based technologies and translating these innovative technologies to the clinic, with an emphasis on cardiovascular and neurological disorders. Physics for Medicine Paris is a technological hub for new modalities of ultrasound guidance, monitoring, and treatment. The team also plays a pivotal role in educating young researchers with the training of many PhD students. Read the site profile from December 2019.

Children’s National Hospital | Washington, DC

In September 2020, Children’s National Hospital (CNH) in Washington, DC, became the first Center of Excellence focused exclusively on pediatrics. The Center includes a multidisciplinary team of clinicians and investigators from radiology, oncology, surgery, orthopedics, neurosurgery, and urology. In recent years, the CNH team has become a leader in the translation of focused ultrasound for treating pediatric solid tumors. They are currently investigating the treatment of malignant solid tumors with focused ultrasound alone and combined with chemotherapy. Moving forward, the team plans to further explore oncological applications of focused ultrasound, particularly to augment chemotherapy and immunotherapy for hard-to-treat pediatric cancers. Read the research site profile from September 2020.

University Medical Center Utrecht | Utrecht, Netherlands

In January 2021, The University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht) became the fourth Center of Excellence in Europe. UMC Utrecht is striving to improve current cancer therapy with MRI-guided focused ultrasound, often in combination with other modalities, such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery, leading to higher efficacy, fewer side effects, and lower costs. The emphasis of the clinical translation, in close collaboration with other nearby medical centers and international consortia, is on breast cancer, bone cancer, immune stimulation, and drug delivery for brain tumor treatment.

University of Oxford | Oxford, United Kingdom

 In October 2023, the University of Oxford became Europe’s fifth Center of Excellence and eleventh worldwide. Focused ultrasound research has been a hallmark of the Oxford multidisciplinary ecosystem since 2004. In clinical research, the site is exploring focused ultrasound for ablation of pancreatic tumors and soft tissue sarcomas. Beyond ablation, the team is investigating focused ultrasound as a tool for drug delivery, using thermal mechanisms for mild hyperthermia—triggered drug delivery from thermosensitive liposomes and cavitational mechanisms. The Center of Excellence draws on the expertise of over 23 principal investigators devoted to focused ultrasound research and work in collaboration with industrial partners and other Centers of Excellence around the world to expand the range of novel ultrasound therapies for the benefit of patients.