U.Va. Center Pioneers New Use for One of TIME’s ‘50 Best Inventions’

TIME Magazine - The Invention Issue 2011

Credit: TIME.com

On newsstands this week, TIME Magazine’s “Invention Issue” celebrates 2011′s “50 Best Inventions.” Making the list, focused ultrasound was actually first developed in the 1940s, but modern innovations like those under way at the University of Virginia helped the promising technology make the cut.

Combining high-intensity ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging techniques to destroy tumors and treat other conditions noninvasively, focused ultrasound is FDA-approved for the treatment of uterine fibroids. Researchers in U.Va.’s Focused Ultrasound Center, however, are also exploring new applications for the innovative technology.

U.Va. neurosurgeon Dr. W. Jeffrey Elias and colleagues are now conducting a pilot clinical study for the treatment of essential tremors, affecting 10 million patients nationwide, with a multinational study expected to begin next year. Focused ultrasound is also being explored as a possible treatment for Parkinson’s disease; stroke; breast, brain and prostate cancer; and other conditions.

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