MRI-guided focused ultrasound system could offer Parkinson's relief

MRI-guided focused ultrasound system could offer Parkinson's relief

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | August 30, 2012

"There are many potential benefits of focused ultrasound treatment as this procedure is non-invasive, the therapeutic effect is immediate and there is no associated ionizing radiation," GlobalData said in a release last week.

Parkinson's affects about 1 million Americans, and 5 million people worldwide, GlobalData said, and is the 14th leading cause of death in the United States.

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ExAblate: other uses

Zadicario said the ExAblate Neuro installation at Virginia is the main clinical research site for the device in the United States. The other two U.S. installations are at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and the University of San Diego.

The ExAblate Neuro is the brain-focused cousin of the ExAblate, which received FDA approval in 2004 to treat uterine fibroids. About 30 of these body-focused ExAblates have been installed in the United States, Zadicario said.

Insightec said it was investigating other applications for ExAblate. One area of research is using the device to relieve pain caused by bone metastases, which now are often handled with painkillers or external-beam radiation therapy. The company submitted a premarket approval application to the FDA nearly six months ago, based on a trial using the device to ease pain in patients for whom radiation therapy was ineffective, according to a press release from earlier in the year. The bone metastases indication is already approved in Europe, Zadicario said.

Numerous other studies on using ExAblate to study the treatment of breast cancer and prostate cancer are either recruiting patients or recently wrapped up, according to a search on the ClinicalTrials.gov database.

InSightec, which was founded in 1999, has received about $150 million in financing, most recently getting more than $30 million in investments during a recent fundraising round, much of it coming from GE Healthcare, which now has a 35 percent stake in the company, the Israeli business newspaper Globes reported last month. Other owners include Elbit Imaging and MediTech Advisors.

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