Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Using Ultrasound to Combat Liver Tumors

21.03.2013
Fraunhofer MEVIS presents promising intermediate results as part of the FUSIMO EU project.

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:
FUSIMO stands for “Patient specific modelling and simulation of focused ultrasound in moving organs.” The EU project commenced in 2011 and is funded for three years with 4.7 million euro. Eleven institutions from nine countries are involved. FUSIMO is coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing MEVIS in Bremen, Germany. The second project review by EU experts will take place on March 21 in Brussels.

Bianka Hofmann | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Further information:
http://www.fusimo.eu/
http://www.mevis.fraunhofer.de/

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Medica 2018: New software for a more efficient planning of minimally invasive surgery
06.11.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

nachricht SwRI improves structural health monitoring with magnetostrictive transducer
30.10.2018 | Southwest Research Institute

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Fish recognize their prey by electric colors

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Ultrasound Connects

13.11.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>