Dr. W. Jeffrey Elias
TED, a nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading”, brings the world’s most captivating speakers to the masses through short, prepared talks covering today’s cutting edge technology, entertainment, and design topics. The TED conference recently visited Charlottesville, VA, where IETF Medical Advisory Board member, Dr. W. Jeffrey Elias, discussed his work on the Focused Ultrasound research study for essential tremor.
As Director of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery at the University of Virginia,Dr. Elias has led a number of research investigations. In 2011, his team became the first in the world to successfully treat a person with disabling [essential] tremor using focused ultrasound that was guided by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This procedure and subsequent clinical trials have resulted in an outpouring around the globe of investigations using ultrasound interventions to treat disorders of the brain. ¹
In his presentation, Dr. Elias shared his study results along with a message of the importance of research to further scientific advances.
Watch the taped presentation. Dr. Elias is the second to the last speaker (click on the timeline at approximately 08:30.00 to get right to his section).
¹[Unattributed] TEDx, http://www.ted.com/tedx/events/8358. Nov.15, 2013.
Dr. Jeffrey Elias and the ExAblate
The first patient has been treated as part of a Phase III trial evaluating the success and safety of treatment using the ExAblate Neuro on essential tremor patients. The study builds on promising pilot studies demonstrating the preliminary safety and effectiveness of MR guided focused ultrasound technology. Read about Phase I of the trial here.
The results of this trial are expected to support a submission of the ExAblate Neuro to the FDA for Pre-Market Approval.
InSightec, makers of the ExAblate Neuro, will be partnering with BIRD (US-Israel Binational Industry R&D) and the Focused Ultrasound Foundation for this trial.
Find information on registering for this and other essential tremor studies at clinicaltrials.gov.
Dr. Jeff Elias (center) and the patients who participated in the essential tremor study at UVA
The New England Journal of Medicine published the results of the pilot trial for the use of focused ultrasound to treat patients with essential tremor. These Phase I results indicate that focused ultrasound can safely and effectively treat targeted areas deep in the brain. In focused ultrasound, more than 1,000 ultrasound waves are focused to a single site in the thalamus for the treatment.
The study included 15 patients with essential tremor that could not be managed by medication. Jeffrey Elias, MD, neurosurgeon at the University of Virginia and IETF Medical Advisory Board member, is the lead investigator of the study.
Phase I findings:
- Dominant hand tremor improved by 75 percent.
- Substantial improvements in daily disabilities (85 percent) and quality of life as assessed by clinicians and patients.
- Outcomes and complications were comparable to surgical procedures for tremor, including radio frequency thalamotomy and deep brain stimulation.
Phase III of this study will begin soon. For information on how to register, visit clinicaltrials.gov.
The IETF will continue to watch as results of focused ultrasound studies are posted. Large, randomized controlled trials will be required to assess the procedure’s efficacy and safety.
Watch a video featuring Billy Williams, the first patient treated with focused ultrasound for essential tremor.