Clinical trial explores focused ultrasound in treating depression

Researchers at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto launched a pilot clinical trial to determine if focused ultrasound can be used to help patients with treatment-resistant depression.

In the six-patient trail, focused ultrasound will be used to disrupt a crucial circuit in the brain associated with major depression, according to a Focused Ultrasound Foundation statement.

Researchers will test the cohort’s severity of depression and functioning at one, three, six and 12 months after treatment. The goal is to destroy a structure called the anterior limb of the internal capsule.

“Although we are in the early stages of investigating the safety and efficacy of focused ultrasound for patients with depression, it has the potential to be another treatment option, and expand the number of patients who can be treated,” said Nir Lipsman, MD, and principal investigator of the trial, and Director of the Harquail Centre for Neuromodulation at Sunnybrook.