Brain Disorders
as Never Before

A new made-at-Sunnybrook device could change everything. Every brain disorder you ever thought was untreatable. Every time someone you loved had their lives derailed by Alzheimer's disease, brain cancer or ALS. 

Donor support for this technology will help us take on the world's biggest threats to brain health. 

It's all thanks to a $16.7-million philanthropic grant from Weston Family Foundation, through the Weston Brain Institute. 

This visionary grant launches the ambitious $33-million Weston Family Focused Ultrasound Initiative at Sunnybrook. It will be an all-out effort to accelerate the development of a powerful new focused ultrasound device to treat brain disorders as never before.

Galen Weston
Galen Weston.

Bringing treatments to patients faster

With funds from the Weston Family Initiative, a team led by Sunnybrook’s Dr. Kullervo Hynynen, physicist and vice president of research & innovation, can conduct research on an accelerated timeline and investigate potential treatments in considerably less time than would otherwise be possible.

Our ultimate ambition?

To advance focused ultrasound technology so that treatments can be delivered quickly and without the need for MRI guidance, and to bring it to Canadian patients faster through clinical trials.

Revolutionary technology

This extraordinary, helmet-like device holds immense promise for patients with difficult-to-treat brain disorders like Alzheimer's, brain cancer and ALS, where the blood-brain barrier presents a major obstacle for targeted drug delivery. This barrier is a tightly packed network of vessels wrapped around the brain that protects it from toxins, but also prevents potentially helpful therapeutic agents from entering — such as chemotherapy, antibodies, stem cells or gene therapy. 

"This new device is based on a model of personalization and portability," explains Dr. Hynynen. "Each device will be custom-produced based on scans of individual patients." 

The device is frameless and does not require the real-time use of MRI. It's also more comfortable for the patient. "Not only is it completely non-invasive," adds Dr. Hynynen, "but it can treat multiple locations in the brain at one time, making the procedure shorter." 

"The impact this technology could have on patient care is tremendous," Dr. Hynynen says. "We owe so much of this progress to our donors."

Imagine: someday soon there could be a non-invasive, ultra-precise and economical way to fight back against the most challenging brain disorders of our time. The development of this breakthrough innovation is happening in real time, thanks to our generous community of donors.

To read more about how your support for focused ultrasound research is already changing lives with the existing technology, click here.

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