'Brain cleaner' accelerates brain disease research

A device dedicated to researching brain diseases, acquired with funds donated to the University of Oulu, has been successfully installed at the Oulu University Hospital, and trial usage will commence immediately. The FUS LiFu device, colloquially known as the 'brain cleaner', enables the exploration of various targeted treatments and could be a pivotal step in the development of curative therapies for conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, brain lymphoma, and epilepsy. No similar research equipment of this kind can be found in other Nordic countries.
Professori Vesa Kiviniemi
Professor of Functional Neuroimaging Vesa Kiviniemi and The FUS LiFu device, colloquially known as the 'brain cleaner'. Photo Mikko Törmänen.

The highly anticipated device arrived in Oulu last week. "Now the work of the researchers begins: research authorisations, recruiting patients, and fundraising for the research itself. The goals are ambitious because the research is groundbreaking and pertains to most neurological diseases," says Vesa Kiviniemi, Professor of Functional Neuroimaging.

The operation of FUS LiFu is based on low-intensity, focused ultrasound. The device allows for the temporary opening of the blood-brain barrier and the delivery of water-soluble drugs to the precise location in the brain. Combining FUS technology with the specialized expertise in Oulu, the ultra-fast functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), opens up entirely new possibilities in brain disease research.

Similar technology is not found in other Nordic countries. With the acquisition of the FUS device, Oulu is becoming a leading international center for research related to blood-brain barrier opening. At the University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital, an expert FUS team is being assembled, and the new research method will also be incorporated into medical training.

Brain researchers at the University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital have collaborated with colleagues in Kuopio, Helsinki, and Turku, as well as international research teams, including those in Oslo, who have expressed interest in joining research collaboration. Agreements have already been made for the first international multicenter studies.

Donations are still needed for brain research

Brain and memory disorders affect the lives of many Finns. Citizens have shown a strong desire to support the acquisition of the brain cleaner, with people donating both small and large sums. In total, €2.2 million was collected for the purchase of the device from over 300 individuals as well as various companies and organizations. Key contributors include the Riitta and Jorma J. Takanen Foundation and Jorma J. Takanen. The crucial latest donation of €700,000 was made by the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

"Thanks to all the donors, each and every one!" rejoices Kiviniemi.

You can continue to donate to brain research.

Support brain research at the University of Oulu:

MobilePay: 14777
Online donation: lahjoita.oulu.fi

The University of Oulu money collection permit RA/2020/518. The permit is valid in Finland starting from 8th of May 2020 excluding Åland. The donations are used to support the research and education in the University of Oulu.

Last updated: 12.9.2023