Swedish launches studies examining focused ultrasound as a potential treatment for Parkinson's disease, brain tumors

July 30, 2014 Swedish News

Swedish Neuroscience Institute leads national ultrasound technology research

News Release


Contact: Clay Holtzman, Swedish, (206) 998-5028, clay.holtzman@swedish.org

SEATTLE — July 30, 2014 — The Swedish Neuroscience Institute (SNI) is expanding its study of focused ultrasound as a novel treatment for brain disorders with the opening of two clinical trials examining the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and brain tumors. The new trials add to the institute’s ongoing study of focused ultrasound for a treatment of essential tremor (ET).

These trials come after SNI launched a study last year examining focused ultrasound’s potential as a treatment for essential tremor, a common neurological disorder resulting in involuntary shaking. The original study was designed to determine viability and safety of ultrasound treatment in improving the quality of life for those affected. Together, these three studies place SNI at the forefront of clinical care providers studying focused ultrasound as a treatment approach.

Focused ultrasound uses noninvasive ultrasound waves to focus on a point in the brain where disease or a condition is active. The beams exclusively focus on this target site, with the goal of leaving healthy tissue unaffected. Patients remain conscious throughout the process and respond to questions that guide treatment. This noninvasive method has shown potential to be an effective alternative to brain surgery and other more invasive therapies.

SNI is examining the use of focused ultrasound to treat tremor caused by Parkinson’s disease (PD). PD is a progressive and incurable neurodegenerative disease that results in severe disability and eventually death. Common symptoms of the disease include tremor and impaired motor functions.

“We’re proud to be researching a treatment that could one day bring new hope to improving the quality of life for patients,” said Dr. Ryder Gwinn, Principal Investigator for the study.

SNI is also conducting a study on the effectiveness of focused ultrasound as a therapeutic treatment for brain tumors. The study will examine whether the use of noninvasive focused ultrasound helps contain tumor growth and allows for more time between additional therapies compared to stereotactic radiosurgery with Gamma or Cyberknife and chemotherapy.

“This exciting technology may provide a non-invasive alternative to open brain surgery or radiation based treatments for patients with brain tumors” said Co-Investigator, Stephen Monteith, M.D. Fellow Co-Investigator Charles Cobbs, M.D, added: “The ability to treat patients with such noninvasive and effective technology would be an enormous leap forward for medical research if we prove its viability.”

Both studies are being sponsored by InSightec, Ltd.

InSightec, Ltd. is the pioneer and global leader in the MR guided focused ultrasound technology. Founded in 1999 by GE Healthcare and Elbit Medical Imaging, with a mission to transform the MR guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) into a clinically viable technology.

InSightec, Ltd. is headquartered in Tirat Carmel, Israel with US offices in Dallas, Texas.

For more information, please contact Swedish at 206-386-2748


About Swedish Neuroscience Institute

Swedish Neuroscience Institute (SNI) provides advanced, progressive treatment for a wide range of brain, spine and central nervous system conditions. SNI is committed to ensuring quality outcomes by acquiring the most advanced technology and participating in leading-edge research. Read more at: www.swedish.org/Services/Neuroscience-Institute.

About Swedish

Swedish has grown over the last 103 years to become the largest non-profit health provider in the Greater Seattle area. It is comprised of five hospital campuses (First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard, Edmonds and Issaquah); ambulatory care centers in Redmond and Mill Creek; and Swedish Medical Group, a network of more than 100 primary care and specialty clinics located throughout the Greater Puget Sound area. In addition to general medical and surgical care including robotic-assisted surgery, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, pediatric specialties, organ transplantation and clinical research. In 2012, Swedish provided more than $130 million in community benefit in Western Washington. For more information, visit www.swedish.org, www.facebook.com/swedishmedicalcenter or www.twitter.com/swedish.

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