InSightec has completed patient enrolment in the first feasibility study assessing the use of MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) for treatment of essential tremor using ExAblate Neuro at the University of Virginia, US.

Using the ExAblate system, doctors use the MRI to visualise the patient’s anatomy and then aim focused ultrasound waves at the tumour to thermally destroy it.

InSightec Neuro programme director Eyal Zadicario said that ExAblate Neuro, the only MRgFUS brain system in clinical use, has demonstrated the ability to ablate targets deep in the brain with high precision.

”Encouraging initial results provide hope that this treatment could become a significant addition for treating neurological disorders. InSightec is expanding its Neuro research, to include brain tumors, stroke and targeted drug delivery,” Zadicario added.

Essential tremor is a common movement disorder, characterised by difficulty in performing everyday tasks like drinking, eating, dressing and writing.

An earlier Phase III pivotal study evaluated the efficacy of ExAblate incisionless surgery system in reducing pain associated with bone metastases in patients who have failed to respond to radiation therapy.

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The company also conducted a feasibility study demonstrating the use of non-invasive transcranial MRgFUS, and showed improvement in pain scores and reduction of pain medication with no adverse effects at three months follow-up.

The ExAblate system was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2004 as a treatment for symptomatic uterine fibroids.

ExAblate 2000 received the European CE mark for pain palliation of bone metastases in June 2007.