Dear Focused Ultrasound Community, 

I am writing to inform you of some important changes we have made in the format of the Foundation’s biennial International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound.

Neal Kassell 09 smThe symposium continues to fulfill two primary purposes: 1) to communicate and share ideas, data, and information for facilitating the creation of knowledge, and 2) to strengthen and enhance existing relationships and foster the creation of new ones in order to promote collaboration and partnerships. Additionally, the symposium has served as a forum where stakeholders can achieve personal recognition by sharing the status of their various projects. This is particularly important for young investigators at the beginning of their careers.

In order to keep up with recent advancements, two factors have caused us to restructure the symposium to better support these goals: the exploding amount of content generated in this rapidly growing field, and the need to adapt to a changing, more web-based environment for both conducting biomedical research and disseminating its results. 

The field is transitioning from primarily a research and development activity to clinical care and commercial success. There are now more than 130 clinical indications in various stages of research and development and commercialization utilizing 19 mechanisms of action that must be addressed. There is simply now too much to cover in a four–day biennial meeting.

Additionally, the Internet and associated tools are producing a paradigm shift in how ideas and results are communicated and shared. The need to meet in a face-to-face environment for information sharing (e.g., presentations) is rapidly being supplemented by the ability of the Internet to provide contemporaneous or near real-time sharing and rapid dissemination and feedback.

At the same time, effective collaborations and personal relationships are based on mutual trust and chemistry. Once established, collaborations can be perpetuated electronically – but in-person, face-to-face meetings remain critical in establishing and enhancing these relationships.

Based on the above, we have increased the length of the symposium by one full day. The program will begin with an opening reception on Sunday evening and finish at lunch on Friday afternoon. The program will emphasize preclinical laboratory studies, translational research, clinical trials and commercialization.

There will be additional panels – with brief presentations from each panelist – to provide more opportunity for moderated discussion and debate. More panels mean more opportunity to address, through cultivated discussion, critical topics that are often lost in the more standard plenary presentation format. The panels will be supplemented with invited lectures, plenary presentations, and keynote lectures. But most importantly, much more importance will be assigned to the poster presentations to communicate interim and final results and works in progress. Each poster station will have a table for a laptop computer where the equivalent of a five-minute oral presentation is cycling continuously. In addition, this presentation will be available electronically in the meeting program for viewing at others’ convenience. There will also be two evenings dedicated to poster presentations instead of one as in prior years. 

Please see the detailed list of topics that will be covered at the symposium below. We are also pleased to announce our distinguished Scientific Program Committee.  

Abstract submission for the plenary and poster session presentations will begin on April 13, 2020. More communications will be forthcoming. 

We look forward to seeing you in November. 

Be well, 

Neal F. Kassell, MD

Chairman, Focused Ultrasound Foundation


The following is a detailed list of topics that will be covered at the symposium.


  • Movement disorders
  • Neurodegenerative disorders
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Neuromodulation
  • Pain
  • Brain tumors
  • Blood-brain barrier opening

Cancer & Benign Tumors

  • Immunotherapy
  • Liquid biopsy
  • Prostate
  • Pancreatic
  • Liver & biliary tract
  • Colorectal
  • Esophageal
  • Lung
  • Kidney
  • Bladder
  • Head and neck
  • Bone
  • Melanoma
  • Thyroid
  • Ovarian
  • Breast
  • Uterine fibroids and adenomyosis
  • Soft tissue tumors: desmoid, sarcoma, neurofibromatosis


  • Arthritis: hand, hip, knee, ankle
  • Back pain: facetogenic, sacroiliac 
  • Rotator cuff


  • Valve calcifications
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Cardiac hypertrophy
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Congenital heart anomalies
  • Peripherial arterial disease
  • Varicose veins
  • Deep vein thrombosis


  • Arthritis
  • Soft tissue tumors
  • Bone tumors
  • Liver tumors
  • Bladder tumors
  • Brain tumors
  • Spay/neuter
  • Oral melanoma
  • Chronic wound healing


  • Educational opportunities
  • Training, credentialing, certification


  • Regulatory
  • Reimbursement: coding and billing
  • Site success
  • Advocacy
  • Financing
  • Employment opportunities
  • Investment opportunities


  • Funding opportunities
  • Data sharing and open science
  • Clinical trials
  • Registries
  • Employment opportunities

History & Future of Focused Ultrasound

  • State of the field
  • Globalization


  • Commercial offerings
  • Breakthroughs 
  • Gaps
  • Standards and quality assurance
  • Simulation and patient selection
  • Treatment planning, monitoring, and evaluation

Mechanisms of Action

  • Tissue destruction
  • Therapeutic delivery
  • Radiation sensitization
  • Clot lysis
  • Stem cell homing