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First Major Medical Meeting Convening for MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound to Treat Cancer, Stroke, Fibroids, Other Conditions

More than 75 leading experts to share research data, clinical experience on use of magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound surgery -- novel,

non-invasive alternative to traditional surgery and radiotherapy for

serious medical conditions

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation is pleased to announce the convening of the first major International Symposium dedicated to the current and future use of magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS) -- a breakthrough therapeutic technology for treating a variety of serious medical conditions including cancer, neurological disorders, and uterine fibroids.

The MRgFUS 2008 International Symposium, to be held on October 6th and 7th in Washington, DC, will feature more than 75 leading clinicians, scientists, and engineers from over 12 countries who are contributing to the rapid advancement of this field. The multidisciplinary program will span the latest research, current and future clinical applications, and practical issues related to adoption including best practices, training, and reimbursement. The program will be of interest to individuals from academia, clinical treatment facilities, industry, and funding bodies.

"This is a landmark event in the evolution of focused ultrasound surgery," said Dr. Neal F. Kassell, professor of neurosurgery at the University of Virginia and Chairman of the Foundations' board. "Although there has been significant work done around the world in the field for a number of years, it isn't until you see it all come together like this that you begin to understand the true potential of this technology to meet the challenges of modern medicine with less invasive and more effective treatment."

About magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS)

MRgFUS is a disruptive technology that is poised to revolutionize the treatment of a wide variety of medical disorders by serving as the ultimate in minimally invasive surgery; an alternative to radiation therapy; the means for precisely delivering drugs in high concentrations to the point where they are needed; and, dissolving blood clots and restoring circulation.

MRgFUS is already established for the treatment of uterine fibroids and holds the potential to non-invasively treat breast, prostate, liver, and other benign and malignant tumors; to convert metastatic cancer from a lethal disease to a manageable, chronic disorder; to reverse the disabling and life threatening neurological deficits from stroke; to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, and chronic pain; and to address the host of other disorders ranging from heart disease to diabetes.

MRgFUS can be performed on an outpatient basis, does not require general anesthesia or incisions, results in minimal discomfort and few complications, and allows rapid recovery.

MRgFUS is the result of the integration of two technologies: high intensity focused ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging. Focused ultrasound technology uses multiple intersecting beams of ultrasound energy focused with extreme precision on a target as small as 1mm in diameter. This is analogous to focusing rays of sunlight with a magnifying glass on a spot and burning a hole in a piece of paper. Where each individual ultrasound beam passes through the tissue there is no effect, but where they intersect in the body, the focused energy creates a cumulative effect, enabling precise ablation of tissue, highly targeted drug delivery, or liquefaction of blood clots. Magnetic resonance imaging is used to visualize normal anatomy and abnormal structures within the body, to localize the tissue to be targeted, to guide and control the treatment interactively, and to evaluate the effectiveness of therapy.

About the Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation (FUSF)

The Charlottesville-based Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation was founded in 2006 as a catalyst to accelerate the development and worldwide adoption of MRgFUS, and thereby improve the lives of millions of patients. The Foundation's mission is to shorten the time from technology development to patient treatment, to develop new applications and to accelerate the worldwide adoption of MRgFUS. The Foundation's activities include: funding translational and clinical research, providing fellowships for training physicians and scientists, hosting symposia and workshops, maintaining online informational resources, and establishing new centers of excellence.

Leading medical experts' perspective on MRgFUS Symposium 2008

"MRgFUS 2008 will highlight both current and potential future uses of MRgFUS and will provide the most comprehensive and authoritative update of this highly promising technology. This will help physicians realize the potential of MRgFUS in mainstream medicine. This meeting will be a great opportunity for the whole field to work together to accelerate the pace of development and collaboration for MRgFUS."

-- King C. Li, M.D., F.R.C.P(C)., M.B.A., Anderson Foundation Distinguished Chair in Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Professor of Radiology, Weill Cornell Medical College, Chair, Department of Radiology, The Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX

"MRgFUS 2008 will be extremely helpful to the field. To date, researchers using and developing MR guidance of focused ultrasound have had to meet a various other meetings, be those in the field of MRI or therapeutic ultrasound. Having a unified meeting will allow for all the newest information and development in this combined research field to be shared in the most efficient manner. For us, MRgFUS is an extremely important technology. We are presently developing new applications for therapeutic ultrasound that will take advantage of all the benefits that an MR guided system has over other systems, including those for treatment planning, optimization, and validation of therapy. Our ambitious goals for these applications would not be technically feasible without an MR-guided system."

-- Victor Frenkel, Ph.D., Head, Therapeutic Ultrasound Research Molecular Imaging Lab, Diagnostic Radiology Department, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

"MRgFUS has the potential to be an important interventional tool which has low morbidity and high efficacy."

-- David Gianfelice, M.D., Division Head of VIR, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada

"This sort of focused meeting is how MRI started a generation ago. This could be as big or bigger. For stroke thrombolysis it could be the most important meeting in the country. The pieces are coming together for the breakthrough techniques of the next decade. MRgFUS 2008 will be the place where critical mass is achieved and the solutions start to take real shape."

-- William C. Culp, M.D., Professor of Radiology & Surgery, Chief of Interventional Radiology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

"MRgFUS is an extremely important development. As a neuroradiologist, I have a major interest in stroke. MRgFUS could totally revolutionize the treatment of acute stroke by liquefying the thrombus. The MRgFUS 2008 meeting is very important for issues such as reimbursement. The more users of MRgFUS we have the sooner we will get category I codes for reimbursement."

-- William G. Bradley, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.R., Professor and Chairman, Department of Radiology, University of California San Diego Medical Center

"MRgFUS is already very important in some areas of medicine, and can become very important in neurosurgery because of the minimally invasiveness of this tool. MRgFUS could be used in neurooncology, neurovascular and functional neurosurgical cases. One of the most attractive features is the possibility to eliminate the need of radiation therapy and its unwelcome side effects. MRgFUS 2008 will be a very helpful meeting, because more physicians need to be aware of MRgFUS technology."

-- Mario Zuccarello, M.D., Professor; Director, Division of Neurosurgery, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

"MRgFUS 2008 in Washington, DC, will be a very exciting opportunity for a multi-disciplinary team of experts to present and discuss the future -- it should be very helpful in increasing awareness and will accelerate the advancement of the entire field. MRgFUS is a major part of our clinical research currently and will grow and become a major treatment option for many of our patients."

-- Clare M. C. Tempany, M.D., Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School, Ferenc Jolesz Chair of Radiology Research, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA

"The MRgFUS 2008 meeting will be the first major international scientific congress addressing the rationale for and feasibility of focal therapy for prostate cancer. It will bring together experts in imaging and treatment technology with experts in the diseases. I think it will launch an exciting new era in minimally invasive treatment of cancer. MRgFUS promises to play a major role in oncology in the future. [It will be] extremely valuable for urology and for surgical oncology in general."

-- Peter T. Scardino, M.D., F.A.C.S., Chair, Department of Surgery, Florence and Theodore Baumritter & Enid Ancell Chair of Urologic Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY


Sara Nazzaro

Feinstein Kean Healthcare

(617) 761-6742

SOURCE The Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation
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