Imagine if brain tumor removal required only mild sedation and no hospital stay. That’s the promise of focused ultrasound technology, which combines real-time magnetic resonance imaging and an ultrasound transducer to noninvasively ablate tissue.
Approved around the world for indications such as cancer, chronic pain, and Parkinson’s disease, focused ultrasound is currently in clinical trials for the treatment of conditions including hypertension, tubal pregnancy, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The technique is also being considered for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, obesity, and diabetes, among other applications.
Israeli firm Insightec, which already has FDA-approved focused ultrasound devices to treat pain in bone cancer patients and uterine fibroids in women, received approval from the agency last year to trial its ExAblate Neuro for treatment of essential tremor. This year, the company opened centers in China and initiated a $50-million funding round.