NEWSLETTER
January 2016


Grisham Book on Amazon

FOUNDATION NEWS

Moonshot To Cure Cancer

NIH Brain Research Update

Nominations Open for Ferenc Jolesz Award

GBM Workshop White Paper Now Available

Scientific Committee Set for Symposium

Donors Help Meet Matching Gift Goals

RESEARCH NEWS

Case Series for Parkinson’s Tremor

Research Award Update: Real-time 3D Thermometry

HIFU Clinician Profiles: Prostate Disease

Research Roundup

JTU ARTICLE OF THE MONTH

Lower Extremity Vascular Formation

INDUSTRY NEWS

Maurice Ferré Named CEO of Insightec

Reimbursement for Bone Metastases

EyeTechCare Advances Treatment in China

Company Profile: HIFU Prostate Services

MEDIA COVERAGE

Simpler, Cheaper Uterine Fibroid Treatment and more…


EVENTS

$100K Technology Challenge Award and More…
 

Grisham Book on FUS Now Available on Amazon

 


   
John Grisham’s The Tumor is now available as a free Kindle e-book on Amazon. More than 25,000 copies of the short medical fiction story about focused ultrasound have been ordered to date through our website.

“We have been thrilled with the initial interest in the book, and now that it is available to the mass public on Amazon, we expect interest to skyrocket,” said Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD. “We are grateful to John for not only his belief in focused ultrasound, but his willingness to invest his valuable time and writing skills to share this incredible story.”

Grisham has been a board member and steadfast supporter of our Foundation for years. He has written this book to ignite widespread interest and raise funds to support our work.

John’s story is about a young father named Paul who is diagnosed with a lethal brain tumor. Given current medical options, Paul’s future is bleak. However, fast forward ten years when focused ultrasound is used to treat Paul, extending his life expectancy. In addition to this story, The Tumor includes a summary of the state of the technology and the mission of the Foundation to accelerate progress.  

Please help us spread the word! Accelerate progress by sharing on social media, ordering the e-book, and writing a review on Amazon.com. GO TO AMAZON >

 
 
  Watch Grisham introduce The Tumor at
TEDx Charlottesville >
 
Is your organization interested in sharing this book? Please contact to order multiple copies.
 
FOUNDATION NEWS

Vice President Biden reviews a FUS research poster

"Whatever breakthroughs we can make in 10 years, my goal is to make sure we can do it in 5 years. While my goal is that we find absolute cures, for some cancers we may get to the point where we can manage them, and they become chronic diseases."
– Vice President Biden 

A Moonshot To Cure Cancer

In his State of the Union address last week, US President Barack Obama announced a new “moonshot” initiative to make cancer a thing of the past. Vice President Joe Biden will lead this effort, a cornerstone of his final year in office (and beyond). The Foundation is highly supportive of the initiative, which aligns well with our emphasis on advancing focused ultrasound as a therapeutic modality for cancer.

We look forward to engaging with the Vice President’s team to educate them on the unique role of focused ultrasound as a multipurpose tool for enhancing immunotherapy, localizing the delivery of chemotherapy, and offering less invasive tumor treatment. Biden is already aware of our work--he visited the 2014 Focused Ultrasound Symposium and will be invited to return this year.

READ MORE >

Foundation Team Presents Brain Research Update at NIH

To explore collaboration and encourage the NIH to continue investing in focused ultrasound, Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell presented an overview on the state of brain research to NIH scientists from several institutes on January 19.

Twenty scientists from more than five institutes gathered to learn about the bioeffects on the brain (ablation, drug delivery, and opening the blood-brain barrier), and the 14 neurological diseases and psychiatric disorders that are in studies ranging from pre-clinical exploration to advanced clinical trials.

READ MORE AND VIEW THE SLIDES >


Ferenc Jolesz, MD

"Ferenc kept exploring new ways to use FUS, particularly in the brain… to open the BBB for targeted drug delivery and as treatment of Alzheimer’s. This became a reality last November, almost 25 years after the first conception, and would have made him supremely happy!"
– S. Morry Blumenfeld, MD

Nominations Open for Ferenc Jolesz Award 

We are now accepting nominations for the Ferenc Jolesz Memorial Award. As we sadly mark the one-year anniversary of his death, the Foundation is pleased to recognize the legacy of a world class visionary whose passions included pushing surgery into the 21st century and pioneering focused ultrasound as a non-invasive therapy.

The award, supported by Insightec, was created to recognize the same innovative spirit in mid-career researchers and clinicians who continue to advance focused ultrasound. The recipient of this award will deliver a presentation at the 5th International FUS Symposium.

A $5,000 cash award and up to $5,000 in travel expenses for symposium attendance will be awarded to a scientist or clinician with at least 10 years’ experience who is conducting translational or clinical research. Nominations will be accepted now through April 11, 2016

APPLY OR NOMINATE A COLLEAGUE >


 

Glioblastoma Workshop White Paper Now Available 

A White Paper developed from the November 2015 Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) Workshop is now available on our website and includes meeting highlights, the state of the technology for this application, and road maps for future technical, pre-clinical, and clinical work. The most promising areas of research include using focused ultrasound for enhancing immunotherapy and for more effective delivery of chemotherapeutics.

READ THE WHITE PAPER >


 

Scientific Committee Set for Symposium 

Twenty-one leading clinicians and researchers representing seven countries serve as this year’s Scientific Program Committee for the 5th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound. The group is responsible for reviewing all abstracts and guiding each session’s structure. Event registration is now open and discounted hotel reservations are still available. Abstract submission and Young Investigator nominations open February 15th.



Our 2016 plans include fundraising for cancer immunotherapy and brain disorders research. If you are interested in supporting our work, please contact the Development team.

Thank You! Donors Help Us Meet Matching Gift Goals 

Last year, the Foundation was challenged with three matching grants, and, thanks to our donors, we met each challenge and raised almost $3 million in those efforts alone. An anonymous $1 million challenge gift enabled us to end 2015 with a surge of enthusiasm as we matched that donation. The Kenan Charitable Trust matching grant raised $750,000 (3:1 match for a $250,000 grant) for our unrestricted fund. The Block matching grant raised $200,000 (1:1 match of a $100,000 donation) for osteoid osteoma research.

READ MORE >

 

RESEARCH NEWS


"The Rambam study is encouraging. Our larger, controlled trial is nearly complete. We look forward to analyzing the data and submitting it for publication later this year."
– Dr. Jeff Elias

Promising Parkinson’s Tremor Case Series Published

Researchers at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel recently published a case series in the journal Parkinson's Disease using Insightec’s ExAblate focused ultrasound system to treat patients with medication-refractory, tremor-dominant Parkinson’s disease. Tremor control was near complete for the seven patients who underwent ventral intermediate nucleus (VIM) thalamotomy and were followed for 7.3 months. Adverse effects were generally moderate. The authors conclude that these promising results should be followed by “larger studies with sham controls and longer follow-up periods.”

A similar, larger study has been ongoing in the US. Dr. Jeff Elias at the University of Virginia has been conducting a feasibility study to evaluate the safety and initial effectiveness of unilateral VIM thalamotomy in subjects with medication-refractory tremor-dominant Parkinson’s. The study, which began in 2012, is a double-blinded and randomized comparison to a sham procedure. The one-year follow-up period on 27 patients will be completed this March.


Craig Meyer, PhD
 

Research Update: Real-time 3D MR Thermometry

A recently completed Foundation-funded research project has resulted in the filing of a new US Patent Application. Craig Meyer, PhD, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Radiology at the University of Virginia tested and developed a new 3D thermometry method to improve focused ultrasound treatment monitoring and visualization. The group, which includes collaborators Max Wintermark, MD, and Kim Butts Pauly, PhD, was interested in developing faster imaging and real-time image reconstruction software improvements that decrease blurring and “movement” of the hot spot that forms during ablative treatments.

READ MORE, INCLUDING FINAL REPORT >


Drs. Robertson, Suarez, and Ward

"I feel focused ultrasound will have the greatest impact on men with minimal disease seeking treatment that want to avoid the side-effects of radical treatments and find the decades of repeat prostate biopsy and guessing associated with active surveillance equally unpalatable."
– Dr. Ward

HIFU Experts Discuss Focused Ultrasound for Prostate

Two focused ultrasound systems were recently approved by the FDA to ablate prostate tissue. In our Prostate Focus Feature, we spoke with three urologists about the SonaCare and EDAP prostate systems, their experience with the technology, and their predictions for the future of the field.

  • Dr. Cary Robertson is a urologic oncologist at Duke University Medical Center.
     
  • Dr. George Suarez is a co-founder of SonaCare Medical and a practicing urologist in Miami.
     
  • Dr. John Ward is a urologist at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center who is interested in focal therapy for prostate cancer.

 

Research Roundup – Gene Therapy and Immunology


Can the use of focused ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier (BBB) help deliver gene therapy to the brain for brain tumors and neurodegenerative diseases? 

In a study from the UK, focused ultrasound is being used to activate anti-tumor immune cells (lymphocytes) to slow tumor progression and prolong survival.

READ MORE >

 

JTU Article of the Month – Lower Extremity Vascular Malformation

An 18-year-old male patient with a painful lower extremity vascular malformation that also reduced his ability to exercise was treated with a series of focused ultrasound ablations using 200 Watts of power for less than 20 seconds each. Was the treatment effective for reducing pain and improving activity; if so, how long did the effect last? Read this interesting case report to see how it compares to the Stanford series in the Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound.

 

Do you have research news for our newsletter? Tell us about it. 
INDUSTRY NEWS
 
Ferré discusses what he envisions for Insightec's future. WATCH NOW >  

"Insightec is at the forefront of the global shift toward non-invasive procedures… My goal is to lead the company on its path to commercial success."
– Maurice Ferré

Maurice Ferré Named CEO of INSIGHTEC

Maurice R. Ferré, MD, who has been serving as Insightec’s Chairman of the Board, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Ferré is a seasoned medical device executive with more than 20 years of experience, having co-founded robotic company MAKO Surgical, which was sold to Stryker for $1.65 billion in 2013. Additionally, the company announced that it secured a $22 million investment led by its current shareholders as part of round D.

Insightec’s former CEO and Founder, Dr. Kobi Vortman, will become Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and continue to drive strategy and the product roadmap. Eyal Zadicario has been appointed General Manager and will lead the company’s R&D and Operations.
 

Reimbursement for Bone Metastases

Insightec recently announced expanded reimbursement for US patients who receive focused ultrasound treatment for their painful bone metastases. Covered participants now include BCBS Louisiana, Florida Blue, Independence BCBS, Highmark BCBS, and Blue Shield of California.

READ MORE >

EyeTechCare Raises $27M for Advancing Glaucoma Treatment in China

A China-focused investment group, Everpine Capital, has committed a $27 million investment in EyeTechCare for pursuing regulatory approval from the Chinese Food and Drug Administration. The French company’s non-invasive glaucoma treatment is already marketed in Europe.



 READ THE COMPANY PROFILE >

Company Profile: HIFU Prostate Services

As reported in our Prostate Focus Feature, HIFU Prostate Services (HPS) has been created to facilitate rapid adoption of focused ultrasound treatment for the prostate in the US. The company is selling SonaCare systems to clients such as urological practices and then providing patient care, physician training, and practice administration support among other services. To better understand the company’s plans, we interviewed HPS CEO John Linn.

READ THE COMPANY PROFILE >

Do you have industry news for our newsletter? Tell us about it. 
MEDIA COVERAGE
Doctors Testing Simpler, Cheaper Uterine Fibroids Treatment on CTVnews.ca 1/16/16 (video).

New Prostate Cancer Treatment Offers Non-Surgical Alternative on KABC Los Angeles 1/11/16 (video).

New HIFU Procedure Treats Prostate Cancer Without Radiation or Surgery on IndiaWest.com 1/5/16

Dr. Neal Kassell, Founder, Focused Ultrasound Foundation on CharlottesvilleTomorrow.org 12/30/15

Theraclion announces First Echopulse System in Switzerland on Reuters.com 12/21/15

Surgeons Introduce Robotic Outpatient Treatment for Prostate Cancer on USC.edu News 12/21/15

Noninvasive Alternatives (for Uterine Fibroids) on Global Times of China 12/20/15

Third Annual Festival of Science Features Major Advances in Understanding and Treating Brain Disorders on Newswise.com 12/16/15
EVENTS
Award Opportunities
Deadline: January 29, 2016
The University of Massachusetts' Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) will award up to $100,000 in service or grant awards to medical device technology-based and biotech startup businesses. The venture must involve the development of new biotech, diagnostic, and medical device technologies. READ MORE >

Call for Abstracts
Deadline: Monday, January 25, 2016, 11:00 pm Pacific Standard Time
The 8th National Image-Guided Therapy workshop is a translational research workshop that brings together NIH-funded researchers in areas of image-guided surgery, interventional radiology, adaptive radiation therapy, image-guided drug delivery, image-guided robotics, and imaging informatics. The workshop includes oral and poster presentations, invited talks, individual interactions with NIH Programs Staff, and industrial exhibits. The 2016 workshop will be held March 15-16 in Bethesda, MD. SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS and LINKS > 

Upcoming Meetings

March 2-6, 2016 European Congress of Radiology, Vienna, Austria

March 14-16, 2016 International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound, Tel Aviv, Israel

April 2-7, 2016 Society of Interventional Radiology 2016 Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC, Canada

April 11-15, 2016 The 12th International Congress of Hyperthermic Oncology, New Orleans, LA

April 15-21, 2016 American Academy of Neurology 2016 Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC, Canada

April 30 – May 4, 2016 American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) 84th Annual Scientific Meeting, Chicago, IL

June 18 – 21, 2016 American Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery Biennial Meeting, Chicago, IL

August 28-September 1, 2016 5th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound, Bethesda, MD

 
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Read The Tumor  by John Grisham

From John Grisham, comes a story where today’s medical fiction could become tomorrow’s lifesaving reality.

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