The Foundation and the International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU) are discussing alternative methods to present key data after the postponement of ISTU 2020. The two organizations are exploring ideas for a special session at the Foundation’s 7th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound in November, which would include research presented by the ISTU 2020 Annual Award Winners.

ISTU300ISTU 2020 was set to take place in Korea this May, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers decided to reschedule the meeting. The date for ISTU 2021 in Gyeongju, Korea, will be announced soon.

The Foundation team continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation as we finalize plans for the biennial meeting. Currently, the Symposium will be held as planned, November 8-13, 2020, in McLean, Virginia.

“The annual ISTU meeting is invaluable for the therapeutic ultrasound research community, and many at the Foundation look forward to attending each year,” said Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD. “We have the unique and fortunate opportunity to provide a platform for some of those who had planned to present at ISTU a chance to share their data among colleagues during a special session in November.”

Session details remain under discussion, but we will share more information as it becomes available.



The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is pleased to announce that Virginia Governor Ralph Northam will speak at the 7th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound.

VA Governor Ralph Northam Visits FUS FoundationGovernor Northam was inaugurated as the 73rd Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia in January 2018. He has previously served as a state Senator and Lieutenant Governor.

Northam is a pediatric neurologist practicing at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, where he has also held leadership positions. He has continued a family tradition in medicine, as his grandfather and mother were a surgeon and nurse, respectively, and his son is now a neurosurgical resident.

Governor Northam is knowledgeable of focused ultrasound and supportive its development and adoption as a therapeutic technology. He has visited the Foundation and continues to allocate funds for research in the state budget.

“Governor Northam’s medical background affords him a unique perspective on the need to champion for healthcare innovation both locally in Virginia and around the world,” said Foundation Chairman, Neal F. Kassell, MD. “We are pleased to have him join us at the Symposium as a valuable advocate for focused ultrasound.”

The 7th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound will take place November 8-13, 2020, at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner in McLean, Virginia. 



Dear Focused Ultrasound Community, 

Neal Kassell 09 smI 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.

The 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



The Foundation is pleased to announce that focused ultrasound pioneer Joan Vidal-Jové, MD, PhD, will serve as the honorary president at our 7th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound in November 2020. 

Dr. Vidal-Jové is the Head of Focused Ultrasound Ablation Oncology at Barcelona University Hospital and has built his impressive career investigating focused ultrasound to treat more than 200 cases of pancreatic cancer, liver tumors, soft tissue desmoid tumors, and – more recently – lung cancer.

“I believe completely in the potential of focused ultrasound to treat many different conditions,” said Dr. Vidal-Jové. “I was first introduced to focused ultrasound when seeking options for my patients whose disease was too late-stage to be treated with traditional surgery. This technology was a valuable tool to help these patients noninvasively.” 

At the 2018 Symposium, Dr. Vidal-Jové shared a case report of his first lung tumor treatment. The lung has long been considered a challenging target for focused ultrasound because ultrasound does not pass through air. Dr. Vidal-Jové was able to treat the metastatic tumor, which was located in the lung periphery, because he could avoid air along the beam path.

However, his priority is treating pancreatic cancer. Although this is the most difficult ablation to perform in the abdomen, his results show that focused ultrasound, when added to standard chemotherapy, improves survival in patients with unresectable pancreatic cancer.

“Joan is a pioneer in the truest sense because he is striving to – and finding success in – treating conditions that we didn’t think would be possible using focused ultrasound,” explains Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD. “Cancers of the pancreas and lung tumors are logistically challenging, and oftentimes patients don’t seek treatment until they are extremely ill. His work has led to offer patients another option, and this represents the true meaning of innovation and dedication.”

The 7th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound will take place November 8-12, 2020, at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner hotel in McLean, Virginia, USA. As honorary President, Dr. Vidal-Jové will address a dedicated group of physicians, researchers, industry leaders, and other stakeholders during the morning plenary session on Monday, November 9. 

“The field of researchers and clinicians who are devoted to advancing this technology is outstanding,” said Dr. Vidal-Jové. “I look forward to seeing everyone next November to share our work and build relationships where we can work together in the future.”

A preliminary program, registration, and abstract submission deadlines for the Symposium will be made available in early 2020. Visit for the latest information.


The Foundation’s 7th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound will take place November 8-12, 2020, at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner in McLean, Virginia. Please save the date and plan to join us for the latest in focused ultrasound research across the field.

Registration will open in spring 2020, and more details will be forthcoming. 

View the presentation videos from the 2018 Symposium > 

See the 2018 program and abstracts >