University of Oxford named Focused Ultrasound Centre of Excellence

Tuesday 3rd Oct 2023, 3.17pm

The Centre of Excellence will be co-directed by Professor Constantin Coussios, Director of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering and the Statutory Chair of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Oxford, and Dr Paul Lyon, Senior Clinical Research Fellow in the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS) and a Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists.

Established in 2009, the Centres of Excellence programme recognises exceptional focused ultrasound sites throughout the world. The Centres serve as hubs for collaboration, bringing together academia, industry, and the foundation to champion therapeutic ultrasound technology in innovative ways.

‘We are honoured to recognise the University of Oxford as one of the leading focused ultrasound sites in the world,’ said Neal F. Kassell, MD, Founder and Chairman of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation. ‘The team is engaging in critical basic science and translational work that will reach more patients in the United Kingdom, Europe and globally, saving lives and accelerating the development and adoption of focused ultrasound technology.’

Focused ultrasound research has been a hallmark of the Oxford ecosystem since 2004.

‘Oxford has been one of the leading ultrasound centres in the United Kingdom over the last 20 years, having conducted the first European trials of extra-corporeal high-intensity focused ultrasound for liver and kidney ablation that resulted in the CE marking of Chongqing Haifu’s JC system.,’ said focused ultrasound pioneer David Cranston, Emeritus Associate Professor of Surgery in NDS and a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. ‘We are absolutely delighted to be having a closer cooperation with the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in the United States through this award and in the growth of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in the United Kingdom. We look forward to promoting the technology.’

Professor Cranston oversaw the first clinical trials of kidney and liver ablation in Europe leading to the setting up of the clinical HIFU programme in Oxford in 2002.

Professor Coussios is the lead academic founder of two therapeutic ultrasound companies (OxSonics Therapeutics and OrthoSon Ltd) across the fields of oncology and minimally invasive surgery and has co-led four therapeutic ultrasound trials to date for kidney tumors, liver tumors (TarDox), pancreatic cancer (PanDox), and metastatic colorectal cancer (CEeDD).

‘Since the invention of Passive Acoustic Mapping for clinical cavitation imaging in 2007, over 35 patents have been filed and four new companies formed to translate novel ultrasound-responsive agents and treatment or monitoring techniques for drug delivery, sonodynamic therapy, transdermal vaccination, antimicrobial therapies, neuromodulation and immune-stimulation’, said Centre of Excellence co-Director Professor Coussios. ‘Oxford’s broadband blend of basic science, clinical and commercial translation creates a unique training environment for the next generation of leaders and innovators in therapeutic ultrasound, whom we hope to continue developing and training with the Focused Ultrasound Foundation’s continued support.’

Dr Lyon oversaw the first-in-human clinical trial of ultrasound-triggered drug delivery to the liver (TARDOX).

‘More than 700 patients have been screened for ablative or drug-delivery focused ultrasound treatments at Oxford, with some 250 patients treated to date’, said Centre of Excellence co-Director Dr Lyon. ‘Having conducted the very first clinical trials of ultrasound-enhanced drug delivery outside the brain, we are presently pioneering a number of new clinical treatments, ranging from ablative techniques for pancreatic tumours and soft tissue sarcomas, to enhanced drug delivery for metastatic colorectal tumours in the liver, and ultrasound-stimulated neuromodulation and immuno-oncology.’

With the current and future financial support of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, funding agencies and donors, the new Centre of Excellence will draw on the expertise of over 23 principal investigators devoted to focused ultrasound research and work in collaboration with industrial partners and other Centres of Excellence around the world to expand the range of novel ultrasound therapies for the benefit of patients.

Read more about the HIFU group in Oxford.