Ultrasound can do much more than record images from the body. Clinicians now use ultrasound to treat tumors. Powerful, concentrated ultrasound waves are focused in the patient’s body to heat cancer cells to 60 degrees Celsius, destroying them and leaving healthy tissue largely unharmed.
Until now, this ‘focused ultrasound therapy’ has only been approved for a small number of diseases, such as uterine tumors and prostate cancer. In the context of the FUSIMO EU project, MEVIS researchers work to expand the application of the method to other organs, such as the liver, which shift in the abdomen during breathing. Now, two years after the beginning of the project, many promising intermediate results have been attained.
Treating the liver with focused ultrasound presents a major problem: The organ shifts back and forth during breathing. This increases the risk that the ultrasound beam path misses the cancer cells and instead heats the surrounding healthy tissue too strongly. For this reason, researchers have only applied this method for patients under general anesthesia. To treat a tumor with ultrasound, the medical ventilator is paused for a few seconds so that the patient remains absolutely still. However, general anesthesia presents its own risks and strains the patient, negating the largest advantage of focused ultrasound therapy – its non-invasive nature.
To solve this problem, the FUSIMO EU project employs a different strategy. If ultrasound therapy for a moving liver can be simulated with a computer as realistically as possible, the likelihood of using such treatment on the organ without general anesthetic rises greatly. Ultrasound treatment would be either activated only when the tumor crosses the focus or by tracking the moving abscess so that it remains in the beam path. FUSIMO, coordinated by Fraunhofer MEVIS, develops the essential software for this vision.
After two years, the project has reached an important milestone: Experts have produced software with which liver operations using ultrasound can be individually simulated for each patient. Magnetic resonance data build the foundation from which 3D images of a patient’s abdomen are generated with additional information about the breathing movements over the time.
Simulations of ultrasound interventions with FUSIMO software are based upon these data sets. To initiate a simulation, researchers enter the time, location, and strength of the desired ultrasound activation. The software created by Fraunhofer MEVIS to efficiently simulate abdominal temperature links two developments: the calculation of ultrasound diffusion provided by the Israeli firm InSightec Ltd. as well as a model of liver movement during breathing from the Computer Vision Lab at ETH Zurich. The software generates an abdominal ‘temperature map’ that indicates whether a moving tumor has been sufficiently heated and whether the surrounding tissue has been damaged. In case of suboptimal results, the simulation can be repeated with different parameters. In the long term, the software could help clinicians plan operations and monitor therapy outcomes.
At the European Radiologist Congress in Vienna, chief radiologist at La Sapienza University in Rome Carlo Catalano stated, “High-intensity focused ultrasound under MRI guidance has become a frequently applied means of treating non-invasive tumors – for example in the treatment of fibroadenoma of uterus and of bone metastases – but treating tumors in moving organs still represents a major challenge due to several complexities.” In this respect, FUSIMO is an exciting project aimed at developing computer simulations for treating the liver with focused ultrasound.
In cooperation with both the Institute for Medical Science and Technology (IMSaT) at the University of Dundee and La Sapienza University, MEVIS experts will refine the software during the remaining project year and validate it by comparing experimental data with results from the simulation, which is necessary for determining how realistically the software performs. In principle, this procedure could be applied to other abdominal organs that are shifted by breathing and difficult to target with the ultrasound beam path, including stomach, kidneys, and duodenum. In addition, specialists are working on a “medicine taxi”: cancer medication enclosed in a small fat globule and inserted into the circulatory system. Focused ultrasound beams function as keys to open the globules when inside tumors in organs such as the liver. This process raises the efficacy of the medicine and minimizes harmful side effects.About the FUSIMO project:
Novel PET tracer identifies most bacterial infections
06.10.2017 | Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Teleoperating robots with virtual reality
05.10.2017 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CSAIL
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences
17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences