Stanford and UC San Francisco Researchers Receive Lockhart Prize for Focused Ultrasound
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Matthew Bucknor, MD, associate professor of radiology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and Pejman Ghanouni, MD, PhD, assistant professor of radiology at Stanford University, were awarded the 2020 Andrew J. Lockhart Memorial Prize by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation.
The $75,000 prize is awarded annually to investigators in recognition of their outstanding contributions in advancing cancer treatment using focused ultrasound and their potential for continued achievements in the field. The prize was established in 2017 by the family and friends of Andrew J. Lockhart, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 39 after a hard-fought battle with cholangiocarcinoma, an aggressive, malignant cancer affecting the biliary system.
In a break from tradition, the Foundation chose to award two prizes this year. “Dr. Bucknor and Dr. Ghanouni’s active collaboration and passion for the treatment of intractable cancers – coupled with their particular interest in immune-based focused ultrasound treatments – made these two applicants equally deserving of the award,” said Jessica Foley, PhD, the Foundation’s Chief Scientific Officer.
Matthew Bucknor, MD
Dr. Bucknor has made significant contributions in the field of focused ultrasound cancer therapy and concentrates his research on work that will directly impact the care of cancer patients in the near term. The results of his studies have been incorporated into treatment protocols internationally, helping to improve outcomes for patients with benign and malignant tumors of bone and soft tissue. He has also collaborated with other investigators in efforts to combine focused ultrasound with novel immunotherapies to improve patient outcomes.
Dr. Bucknor has served as the Director of Focused Ultrasound at UCSF since 2014 and has pioneered treatments for desmoid tumors, bone metastases, and osteoid osteomas. He has treated more than 60 patients, which combined with his prior work at Stanford in collaboration with fellow prize recipient Dr. Ghanouni, makes him one of the most experienced physicians in the country treating musculoskeletal diseases using focused ultrasound.
Dr. Bucknor also has a passion for mentorship and fostering development of the next generation of focused ultrasound researchers. In recognition of his work as chair of his department’s Diversity and Inclusion committee, he was awarded the Chancellor Award for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership in 2019, UCSF’s highest honor for diversity-related service work.
Dr. Bucknor said, “I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to make significant contributions to the improvement of cancer treatment through my research and clinical activities in focused ultrasound, and I am excited to contribute to the next great discoveries in the field.”
Pejman Ghanouni, MD, PhD
Dr. Ghanouni has focused his work on developing techniques that could lead to more effective therapeutic interventions for hard-to-treat diseases. He established and leads Stanford’s Minimally Invasive MR Interventional Center and co-directs Stanford’s Focused Ultrasound Center of Excellence. Working as part of a multidisciplinary team, he has led several clinical trials of focused ultrasound at Stanford that contributed significantly to FDA approval of the technology to treat patients with painful bone metastases, debilitating essential tremor, and symptomatic uterine fibroids; co-led trials at Stanford to treat prostate cancer and Parkinson’s disease; and pioneered the application of MR-guided focused ultrasound for treatment of soft tissue tumors, such as desmoid tumors.
Aside from his clinical work, Dr. Ghanouni is a champion for improving focused ultrasound’s efficacy and safety and has engaged in multiple collaborative technical projects that have advanced the field.
“I am proud of what I have been able to achieve so far for our patients and others like them, and I am very excited by the opportunity to lead the development of future applications of this technology,” said Dr. Ghanouni.
Andrew Lockhart’s parents, Terry and Gene, said, “This award is intended to recognize and encourage exactly the kind of groundbreaking research that Drs. Bucknor and Ghanouni are conducting. It will take revolutionary ideas to find effective therapies for hard-to-treat cancers like the one that claimed our son Andrew. We believe that innovators like Drs. Bucknor and Ghanouni will speed the advent of such interventions.”
“The Lockhart family has generously supported focused ultrasound research and has put into action their belief in the potential of this revolutionary technology to change the lives of people dealing with serious medical disorders,” said Founder and Chairman of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, Neal F. Kassell, MD. “This prize is a tremendous honor for the recipients – and a meaningful tribute to the lasting memory of their son, Andrew.”
Andrew's mother, Terry Lockhart, and members of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation will present Drs. Bucknor and Ghanouni with the award in a virtual ceremony on October 15. Dr. Bucknor and Dr. Ghanouni will also conduct a joint webinar highlighting their research on November 5, which will be available via live stream, as well as on the Foundation’s social media channels.
This is the fourth year the Andrew J. Lockhart Memorial Prize has been awarded. In 2017, the inaugural prize was given to Richard Price, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering, radiology and radiation oncology at the University of Virginia. The 2018 Lockhart Prize went to Graeme Woodworth, MD, professor of neurosurgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Zhen Xu, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan, was awarded the 2019 Lockhart Prize.