There is growing interest in ultrasound-guided focused ultrasound (USgFUS) techniques among researchers around the world. In addition to high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) for ablative procedures, researchers are now exploring additional techniques such as enhanced drug delivery, neuromodulation, and others that use precisely-targeted, but lower power, focused ultrasound (FUS) to achieve a therapeutic response.
Two years ago, Verasonics collaborated with Sonic Concepts, Inc. to introduce the HIFUPlex™ product portfolio, which includes Verasonics’ Vantage HIFU Research Ultrasound Systems integrated with high-performance therapy and imaging array transducers from Sonic Concepts. Researchers in Asia, North America and Europe are now exploring new procedures with these products.
Verasonics and Sonic Concepts recently signed a research funding agreement with the Focused Ultrasound Foundation (FUSF) to augment the HIFUPlex offering with the goal of achieving turn-key solutions for both large- and small-animal USgFUS research. Both companies agreed to develop additional specific products that would facilitate research by providing motorized mechanical support structures, an improved user interface for 3D therapy planning and delivery, and the addition of thermal strain imaging for monitoring.
“Focused ultrasound is a compelling and maturing field. Every month we learn of clinicians around the world starting new clinical trials across a wide array of indications,” said Emily White, Director of Operations, Managing Director of FUS Partners. “Many of these clinicians also have research interests; however they do not have the engineering expertise to build a preclinical system. We believe HIFUPlex can fill that need by giving researchers a system to help them jump start their own research endeavors. And of course, HIFUPlex can give existing researchers an opportunity to convert from a homegrown system that may have technical issues to a system that is reliable. This key project with Verasonics and Sonic Concepts is compelling for an improved, more turnkey approach to research in this important field. ”
At the ISTU/EUFUS Conference this week in Barcelona, Spain, Verasonics and Sonic Concepts will be showing plans for the newest developments and demonstrating the rotary capability of the imaging probe with respect to the USgFUS applicator.
New HIFUPlex developments from Verasonics include:
- New and improved graphical user interface (GUI) built around 3D planning and common experimental workflows
- 3D imaging capability (a series of 2D slices) for simplified treatment planning and delivery
- Integrated motion control (axial rotation of the imager with added 3D translation for annular arrays) provides automation of 3D therapy protocols
- Additional imaging modes, including multi-angle plane wave, Doppler and Harmonic Imaging
- Integrated experimental data management that permits recording all user actions and easily saving/recalling therapy plans, images, movies and presets
- The ability to monitor the therapy with Thermal Strain Imaging (TSI) that includes a color display of the apparent relative displacement from one frame to the next
New HIFUPlex developments from Sonic Concepts include:
- New support structures for both large animal – the HIFUPlex PLUS 3000 — and small animal – the HIFUPlex PLUS 1000 — configurations
- The PLUS 3000 includes an easily adjustable articulating arm to support the HIFUPlex Applicators -04, -05 and -06. The PLUS 1000 features a 3-axis linear motorized system for fine positioning of the HIFUPlex -01, -02 and -03 annular transducers.
- A motorized imaging transducer rotator for both applicators allowing optimal alignment of imaging and therapy planes for treatment planning and monitoring
Development is continuing at a rapid pace: the new HIFUPlex PLUS 3000 and PLUS 1000 solutions are expected to be ready for customers by the end of 2019.
Verasonics is pleased to offer all Vantage customers access to the Verasonics Community. As a web-based portal, the Verasonics Community is designed to provide quick and easy access to helpful tools for training and product information, along with a programming script repository. A new training video, the tenth in the series, is now available, which continues the presentation and tutorial on the Process structure. This video explains how to add custom processing to the Vantage data flow, by accessing the data at any of 4 stages in the normal processing flow.
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