While focused ultrasound is currently in the early stages of development and adoption, it has the potential to transform the treatment of a variety of serious medical conditions.
All indicators point toward the evolution of this platform technology into a robust medical field, with the pace of research and development, publications, patient treatments and the number of device manufacturers all increasing rapidly in the past few years.
The Foundation produces its own State of the Field Report each year to chart the technology's progress around the world.
Research, Development, and Commercialization
Some applications of the technology are approved for commercial use and are available in medical treatment centers around the world. Other uses are still undergoing research, with opportunities for patients to participate in clinical trials at leading medical research institutions. Even more potential uses of the technology are in the early stages of technical research.
The following charts summarize the state of research and regulatory approval of focused ultrasound for more than 150 medical conditions around the globe.
Status by disease category
There have been nearly 375,000 patients treated with focused ultrasound, and 64% of these treatments have been for prostate diseases and uterine fibroids. Though brain treatments make up only a small portion of the total, the range of brain conditions treated is indicative of where the field is headed.
In 2021, we reported on the status of reimbursement for focused ultrasound procedures around the world. As the field expands, more companies are dedicating resources to achieve reimbursement rather than eyeing regulatory approval as the ultimate goal.
Medical Literature and Scientific Exchange
In 2020, there was an uptick in publications compared to 2019. One explanation of this increase could be that while research labs and clinical trials around the globe shut down for various lengths of time due to COVID-19 issues, researchers and clinicians who were working from home finally had the time and capacity to write up previously completed research into publication-ready manuscripts.
Investments in Focused Ultrasound
There are currently 54 clinical device manufacturers in the focused ultrasound space. We are seeing increasing evidence that the field is now transitioning from primarily a science-based research environment to a commercialization and patient treatment space focused on marketing and sales.