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Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation Reports Research Award Disbursements Have Topped $2 Million

Wednesday, June 1, 2011 General News J E 4
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Surge in applications necessitates funding cycle changes

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., May 31, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation reports that its research award disbursements have exceeded $2 million and funding applications have soared in recent months. To manage the surge in applications, the Foundation has replaced its rolling funding process with a quarterly schedule.

"Ever since our 2010 international symposium and our more recent Focal Drug Delivery Workshop, the Foundation has been inundated with funding applications related to MR-guided focused ultrasound," says Hannah Edelen, Research and Fellowship Program Director. "In addition to an increase in the number of applicants, we see a major increase in the quality of the proposals we receive – which I think bodes well for the future of therapeutic focused ultrasound."  

The $2 million in disbursements encompasses 20 investigator-initiated projects ranging from preclinical research to pilot clinical trials. Awards are typically $100,000 for a 12-month period and have funded pre-clinical studies and pilot clinical trials using noninvasive MR-guided focused ultrasound. Projects have investigated new treatments ranging from breast, liver and pancreatic cancer to functional brain disorders and chronic back pain caused by facet joint disease.

Since its inception in September 2007, the Research Awards Program has filled a funding void for MR-guided focused ultrasound researchers by providing "seed money" for highly promising studies. It enables researchers to compile the preliminary data needed to apply for the more substantial grants – from government agencies and other sources— needed to move their work toward clinical reality. To date, eight researchers have completed their projects, and five (62 percent) have received follow-on funding. Two others have funding applications pending.

The Foundation uses an independent and multidisciplinary Research Advisory Committee to review proposals and bases funding decisions on a project's ability to rapidly advance the development of reimbursable clinical indications of MR-guided focused ultrasound.

Edelen explains that, up until now, the program has accepted applications and announced funding decisions on a rolling basis. "We're still accepting and reviewing abstracts on a rolling basis," she says. "Applicants will receive feedback on their abstracts within ten business days. The big change is that researchers invited to develop their abstract into a full proposal will have a quarterly deadline for submitting their materials."

Submission deadlines for full proposals are July 1, October 1, January 3 and April 1. Edelen expects these dates to remain in effect indefinitely rather than change from year to year.

Funding decisions will be announced by the start of the next quarterly cycle. As an example, Edelen says that researchers who want to receive a funding decision by October 1 must submit their proposals by July 1.

Complete information about the FUS Foundation's Research Awards Program is available online at http://www.fusfoundation.org/Research-Program/research.

About the Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation

Driven by the desire to save lives, alleviate suffering and prevent disability, the Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation is devoted to advancing one of modern medicine's most promising and game-changing technologies, noninvasive magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (FUS).

Founded in 2006 and based in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Foundation is a high-performance, not-for-profit organization with global reach and an entrepreneurial spirit. To accelerate the availability and reimbursement of FUS treatments, we host symposia and workshops, fund research and fellowships, support the establishment of FUS Centers of Excellence, promote patient awareness and education, and serve as the nexus of a collaborative research network consisting of sites and investigators around the world. Our work is made possible by contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations.  For complete information, visit www.fusfoundation.org.

SOURCE Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation

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