Skip to main content

University of Oxford Named Focused Ultrasound Centre of Excellence

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

focused ultrasound in use in hospital

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 worldwide. The Centres serve as hubs for collaboration, bringing together academia, industry, and the Foundation to champion therapeutic ultrasound technology in innovative ways.

“We are honored 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 tumors, liver tumors (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 Professor 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.