New Tools for Tissue Ablation Using Focused Ultrasound
Nao J. Gamo, PhD
Amir Manbachi, PhD
co-Founder, Minimally invasive devices
MDC client company NeuroSonics was founded in 2018 by Dr. Nao Gamo, PhD and Professor Amir Manbachi, PhD of Johns Hopkins University. Professor Manbachi is a co-inventor of the Company’s product, a tool for minimally invasive ablation of brain tumors using focused ultrasound.
NeuroSonics is developing a novel, patented focused ultrasound (FUS) device that will provide a minimally invasive alternative to cranial flap resections to remove large and complex brain tumors, including cases considered inoperable with current surgical techniques. Cranial flap resections for larger tumors involve removing a large portion of the skull, with increased risk of uncontrolled bleeding, infections, and prolonged post-operative recovery. Reducing invasiveness with a smaller incision would mitigate these risks, which is especially important when removing tumors that are deep in the brain.
The NeuroSonics team has raised $528,000 in non-dilutive funding so far. Using funding from the TEDCO Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII) Technology Validation award, the NeuroSonics team, including Dr. Stephen Restaino, MDC VP and Director of Engineering, built and tested a prototype in 2018, which confirmed the function of the technology. Following this successful test, NeuroSonics was incorporated by Dr. Gamo and Professor Manbachi and is now a client company of MDC.
In January 2020 NeuroSonics received an NSF STTR Phase I award. This grant will enable the team to address key technical hurdles for the technology, which are to design, fabricate, and test a miniaturized version of an earlier prototype while maintaining its acoustic performance. These are critical milestones to show proof-of-concept functionality and commercial potential of the device before moving onto preclinical and clinical testing.
Prior to receiving the NSF STTR award, the NeuroSonics team, including MDC VP Dr. Restaino and MDC CEO Dr. Gil Blankenship, enrolled in the seven-week NSF I-Corps Program. This program focused on customer discovery, and the NeuroSonics team interviewed over 130 individuals, including neurosurgeons, hospital purchasing department heads, and others that helped the Company shape both the design and function of its technology and its business model.
NeuroSonics is supportedby the National Science Foundation and the Maryland Development Center.