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Arkansas Researcher is Exploring MR-Guided Focused Ultrasound as an Adjuvant Therapy to Radiation

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., July 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hypoxic (oxygen-deprived) tumor cells usually resist radiation and chemotherapy, making them a key challenge in treating cancer. Researcher Xin Chen, Ph.D. believes that MR-guided focused ultrasound could reduce this problem, benefiting patients with malignant solid tumors in areas such as the liver, prostate and breast.

Chen, who is an assistant professor in the Department Radiation Oncology at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, has received a $100,000 Research Award from the Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation. He is exploring the feasibility of a new method that will detect the hypoxic areas in tumors and use MR-guided focused ultrasound to selectively ablate them prior to regular radiation therapy.

To test the method, Chen and his colleagues will conduct preclinical studies using a mouse tumor model and PET/MRI guidance. "Due to the advanced development in the MR-guided FUS system, PET imaging and the image-processing algorithm, there are no technical difficulties to translate this method to clinical practices," Chen says.

If the approach proves effective, Chen believes it could convince more physicians to use noninvasive focused ultrasound as an adjuvant therapy. "The translation of FUS to tumor treatment has been hampered by its long treatment time," he notes. Because the new method involves significantly shortened treatments, Chen believes it could facilitate the use of FUS therapies in a wider range of tumors.

Chen's co-investigators at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences are: Eduardo G. Moros, Ph.D., Robert J. Griffin, Ph.D., Peter Corry, Ph.D., Gal Shafirstein, Ph.D. and Sunil Sharma, Ph.D.

About the FUS Foundation's Research Awards Program
Since its inception in September 2007, the FUS Foundation's Research Awards Program has filled a funding void for MR-guided focused ultrasound researchers by providing "seed money" for highly promising studies. Funding enables researchers to compile the preliminary data needed to apply for the more substantial grants – from government agencies and other sources— needed to move their work toward clinical reality.

An independent and multidisciplinary Research Advisory Committee reviews proposals received by the FUS Foundation, which bases funding decisions on a project's ability to rapidly advance the development of reimbursable clinical indications of MR-guided focused ultrasound.

The FUS Foundation accepts and reviews Research Award applications (abstracts) on a rolling basis. Applicants who are invited to develop their abstract into a full proposal have a quarterly deadline for submitting their materials. The next quarterly deadline is October 1, with funding decisions to be announced by January 3, 2012.

Complete information about the FUS Foundation's Research Awards Program is available online at

About the Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation
Driven by the desire to save lives, alleviate suffering and prevent disability, the Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation is devoted to advancing one of modern medicine's most promising and game-changing technologies, noninvasive magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (FUS).

Founded in 2006 and based in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Foundation is a high-performance, not-for-profit organization with global reach and an entrepreneurial spirit. To accelerate the availability and reimbursement of FUS treatments, we host symposia and workshops, fund research and fellowships, support the establishment of FUS Centers of Excellence, promote patient awareness and education, and serve as the nexus of a collaborative research network consisting of sites and investigators around the world. Our work is made possible by contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations.  For complete information, visit

SOURCE Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation
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