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The Making of Medicine

The World’s 1st Focused Ultrasound Cancer Immunotherapy Center

Big news: We've partnered with the Charlottesville-based Focused Ultrasound Center to launch the world's first center devoted specifically to combining focused ultrasound and immunotherapy to transform cancer care for the 21st century.

Immunotherapy, as you likely know, aims to bolster the power of the immune system to battle disease -- in this case, cancer. It's the most exciting and important breakthrough in cancer treatment in decades. That said, so far, it's proved effective for only about 20% to 40% of patients. But there's evidence that combining immunotherapy with focused ultrasound can overcome those limitations and make immunotherapy work better for more patients.

Our researchers are already exploring many potential applications of the technology, including treating breast cancer and brain tumors and opening the protective barrier that surrounds the brain to admit treatments that are now impossible.

The new center’s goals include:

  • Understanding how to optimize the anti-tumor effect of focused ultrasound;
  • Developing new focused ultrasound technologies; and
  • Improving quality of life and survival for patients with a variety of cancers while enhancing access to cutting-edge care and reducing costs.

The center will capitalize on UVA’s strengths – including cancer immunotherapy, focused ultrasound and medical imaging – and leverage the expertise of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation to better understand focused ultrasound’s ability to improve a patient's immune response to their cancer. 

The center will be led by Co-Directors Craig Slingluff, MD, Joseph Helms Farrow Professor of Surgery and Director of UVA Cancer Center’s Human Immune Therapy Center; David R. Brenin, MD, the M.C. Wilhelm Professor in Diseases of the Breast and Division Chief of Breast and Melanoma Surgery at UVA Health; and Richard Price, PhD, Lawrence R. Quarles Professor of Biomedical Engineering at UVA.

To learn more about the center, you can visit its new site. As always, we'll keep you posted on our progress exploring the potential of this exciting technology.

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