October 3, 2023

The Focused Ultrasound Foundation has designated the University of Oxford a Centre of Excellence in Focused Ultrasound.

Focused Ultrasound Foundation Image of patient being treated or scanned with ultrasound device


Oxford, United Kingdom and Charlottesville, VA — (September 27, 2023) The Focused Ultrasound Foundation has designated the University of Oxford a Centre of Excellence in Focused Ultrasound. Oxford becomes the fifth Centre of Excellence in Europe and the eleventh worldwide. The recognition coincides with the University of Oxford’s celebration of Focused Ultrasound Day. The Centre of Excellence will be co-directed by Professor Constantin Coussios OBE FREng, Director of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, and Dr Paul Lyon, FRCR DPhil, Senior Clinical Research Fellow in the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences.

Established in 2009, the Centres of Excellence program recognizes 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 recognize 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 therapeutic ultrasound centres in the United Kingdom over the last 20 years,” said David Cranston, emeritus associate professor of surgery, founding clinical director of the Oxford High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) unit and president of The International Society of Minimally Invasive and Noninvasive Medicine (ISMINIM) from 2017-2023. Prof. Cranston oversaw the first European trials of extra-corporeal HIFU for liver and kidney ablation that resulted in the CE marking of Chongqing Haifu’s JC system and the launch of a clinical HIFU research facility in Oxford in 2002. “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 for the benefit of patients.”

Professor Coussios was elected to the first statutory chair in biomedical engineering at the University of Oxford in 2011, where he founded the Biomedical Ultrasonics, Biotherapy and Biopharmaceuticals Laboratory (BUBBL) in 2004. He is the lead academic founder of two therapeutic ultrasound companies (OxSonics Therapeutics and OrthoSon Ltd) across the fields of oncology and minimally invasive surgery, has supervised 50 doctoral students in the area of focused ultrasound to date, and co-led four therapeutic ultrasound trials to date for kidney tumours, liver tumours (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 4 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 Prof. Constantin 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. Paul Lyon is a Senior Clinical Research Fellow in the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, a Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists and conducted 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. Paul Lyon. “Having conducted the very first clinical trials of ultrasound-enhanced drug delivery outside the brain, we are presently advancing & pioneering clinical therapeutic ultrasound 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.

About Focused Ultrasound

Focused ultrasound uses ultrasound energy guided by real-time imaging to treat tissue deep in the body without incisions or radiation. There are currently 34 indications in various stages of development in the UK and more than 170 around the world, including Alzheimer’s disease and tumors of the brain, liver, breast, and pancreas. Worldwide, 32 have regulatory approval, and in the UK, 13 have achieved CE marking.

About the Focused Ultrasound Foundation

The Focused Ultrasound Foundation was created to improve the lives of millions of people worldwide by accelerating the development of this noninvasive technology. The Foundation works to clear the path to global adoption by organizing and funding research, fostering collaboration, and building awareness among patients and professionals. Since its establishment in 2006, the Foundation has become the largest nongovernmental source of funding for focused ultrasound research.

About the University of Oxford

Oxford University has been placed first in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the eight years running, and third in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World Rankings 2023. At the heart of this success are the twin-pillars of our ground-breaking research and innovation and our distinctive educational offer.

Oxford is world-famous for research and teaching excellence and home to some of the most talented people from across the globe. Our work helps the lives of millions, solving real-world problems through a huge network of partnerships and collaborations. The breadth and interdisciplinary nature of our research alongside our personalised approach to teaching sparks imaginative and inventive insights and solutions.

Through its research commercialisation arm, Oxford University Innovation (OUI), Oxford is the highest university patent filer in the UK and is ranked first in the UK for university spinouts, having created more than 300 new companies since 1988. Over a third of these companies have been created in the past five years. Our Incubator at OUI supports the entrepreneurial ambition of University staff, students and alumni, and has created over 50 startups since 2011.

The university is working with partners in Oxford’s innovation ecosystem to harness exceptional science and technology and turn it into commercially successful businesses that drive societal impact, transform lives globally, and fuel economic growth. We are seeing success in engaging more investors and strategic partnerships, developing more space, attracting more talent, and creating more opportunities for entrepreneurs and their companies to scale. We are increasingly connected locally, nationally and globally.

For every £1 million invested in research at the University results in an additional economic output of £5.3 million across the UK economy. For each £1 million of its research income, the University’s research and knowledge exchange activities generated a total of £10.3 million in economic impact across the UK.

The university is a catalyst for prosperity in Oxfordshire and the United Kingdom, contributing £15.7 billion to the UK economy in 2018/19, and supports more than 28,000 full time jobs.

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