First focused ultrasound procedure performed on patient with benign tumor

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A multidisciplinary clinical team at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami has performed the first focused ultrasound procedure on a 21-year-old patient who suffers from seizures linked to a non-cancerous hypothalamic hamartoma brain tumor. 

“This breakthrough first procedure sets the stage for us to provide incisionless surgery for young patients with benign centrally-located brain tumors,” said Prasanna Jayakar, MD, PhD, Chairman of the Brain Institute at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in a statement to Insightec.

Hypothalamic hamartoma is a rare brain tumor that can cause various types of seizures, cognitive issues or other symptoms. An estimated one of 200,000 children and teenagers worldwide are impacted by it.

The medical team who performed the procedure used MR-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) using the Exablate Neuro system as part of this FDA-approved pilot study. The group is aiming to gather the preliminary safety profile of this incisionless ablative treatment for benign centrally-located intracranial tumors in pediatric patients and young adults.

Their pioneering research with our MRgFUS technology offers hope that significant groups of pediatric patients will be able to undergo treatment without any surgical incision, minimizing or eliminating the risk of infection or other surgical complications,” said Maurice R. Ferré MD, CEO and chairman of INSIGHTEC.

The MRgFUS procedure involves applying high-energy ultrasound waves guided by MRI to head and ablate the target tumor without impacting the scalp, skull, or surrounding healthy brain tissue.

“The needs of pediatric patients emphasize some of the important advantages of focused ultrasound. It is incisionless, avoids ionizing radiation, offers less risk of infection and disruption of adjacent normal tissue than surgery, and patients often return to normal activities within days,” says Tim Meakem, Focused Ultrasound Foundation’s CMO, MD. “These benefits are especially important in neurosurgery, and researchers around the world are investigating other areas where this innovative care could improve outcomes for patients of all ages.”