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Non-invasive treatment of pediatric neurological disorders using MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS)

Principal Investigator:
  • James Drake, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto
Team Members:
  • Gabrielle A. deVeber, Hospital for Sick Children
  • Elizabeth Jacqueline Donner, The Hospital For Sick Children
  • Thomas Looi, Hospital for Sick Children
  • Emily Tam, Hospital for Sick Children
  • Adam Waspe, Hospital for Sick Children
  • Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation
  • SickKids Foundation

Project Overview

Neuroscientists and engineers at the University of Toronto, Hospital for Sick Children, and University Health Network and Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute have joined together to develop a novel next generation non-invasive treatment technique, MR guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS), for two common and disabling pediatric neurological conditions, stroke and drug resistant epilepsy. MRgFUS allows clinicians to perform “incision-less” surgery by using focusing ultrasound energy through the skull to specific point for heating and mechanical disruption. For this project, the investigators will design ultrasound transducers for the smaller and thinner pediatric skull, and test their accuracy and effectiveness in an animal model. Specifically, the project provides a non-invasive treatment for two complex conditions: bloods clots in premature babies and drug resistant epileptic seizures. The project will examine the ability of MRgFUS to break up the blood clots that form in the fluid spaces of premature babies, and cause progressive brain damage. For epileptic seizures, the project will also test the ability of the transducers to selectively destroy areas of the brain that cause persistent epileptic seizures. The results will show that MRgFUS has the potential to be a revolutionary novel non-invasive platform for treatment pediatric neurological disorders.