Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ultrasound scalpel destroys liver tumors

01.03.2017

Focused ultrasound can effectively destroy tumor cells. Until now, this method has only been used for organs such as the prostate and uterus. At the European Congress of Radiology, Fraunhofer researchers will present a method, developed as part of the TRANS-FUSIMO EU project, that enables focused ultrasound treatment of the liver, an organ that moves while breathing. In the future, this could enable treatment of certain liver tumors in a more gentle way.

Ultrasound has long served as a diagnostic method. Its application as a form of therapy treatment, however, is relatively new. In this process, ultrasound waves are highly concentrated to destroy diseased tissue, tumor cells in particular, and render them harmless. Focused ultrasound benefits patients in several ways. The therapy is completely non-invasive and can be performed without anesthesia, and there are no operation wounds.


Doctors wish to use focused ultrasound to treat tumors in moving organs, such as the liver, shown here.

Fraunhofer MEVIS

Until now, however, the method has only been approved for a limited number of indications, such as treatment of prostate cancer, bone metastases, and uterine myoma. To treat organs that move when patients breathe, the method can only be partially applied. Doctors have to rely on patients to hold their breath or put them under anesthesia, so they can control the patient’s breath.

The scientists working in the TRANS-FUSIMO EU project (see infobox), coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing MEVIS in Bremen, are following another path. They refocus the ultrasound beam to the movement of the liver to reach the tumor effectively while sparing the surrounding healthy tissue. The fundamental technology needed for the method is now ready. The researchers will present important preliminary results as part of an industry symposium at the European Radiology Congress (ECR) in Vienna on March 1.

In this therapy concept, the patient lies in an MRI scanner during the procedure. Every tenth of a second, the scanner produces an image showing the current position of the liver. The ultrasound transducer, a device equipped with more than 1000 small ultrasound transmitters, sits on the patient’s stomach. These can be directed so that their waves converge precisely at a point as small as a grain of rice. There, they unleash their destructive effect - the tumor cells become completely cooked. The MRI scanner controls the process, measuring the temperature in the liver and ensuring that the correct spots are sufficiently heated.

Real-time software that can glance into the immediate future

Project manager Sabrina Haase, mathematician at Fraunhofer MEVIS, explains the problem. “Generating an image of the liver’s position every tenth of a second is not fast enough to reliably direct the ultrasound beam. This is why we developed software that can see into the immediate future and calculate the next position of the treated region.” The program determines the path for the focused ultrasound waves to reach the liver tumor even when the patient moves while breathing. Developing the software was quite challenging: it must run both highly realiably and in real time.

Another difficulty facing the scientists was the fact that the ribs lie in front of the liver. To prevent the beams from damaging the ribs, elements in the ultrasound transducer that would have hit the ribs were deactivated, much like blocking the holes in a showerhead which spray water in an unwanted direction.

“We have completed the technical development phase and have already run preliminary tests,” says Haase. In the test, a robotic arm moved a gel model back and forth in the MR scanner to simulate the liver movement inside the body. At the same time, the gel phantom was exposed to focused ultrasound, and the MRI scanner monitored the temperature distribution. “The results match our expectations,” says Haase. “Now, we can pursue the next steps.”

The first TRANS-FUSIMO tests on patients are planned for mid-2018. Thereafter, in cooperation with an industry partner, medical product certification can be tackled. If the method proves itself, in the future, it would be possible to treat other organs that move with breathing, such as the kidney, pancreas, or even lungs.

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2017/march/ultrasound-scalpel-d...

Bianka Hofmann | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Further reports about: MRI MRI scanner Ultrasound anesthesia bone metastases liver prostate cancer tumor cells tumors

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht A first look at interstitial fluid flow in the brain
05.07.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht A sentinel to watch over ocular pressure
04.07.2018 | Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microscopic trampoline may help create networks of quantum computers

17.07.2018 | Information Technology

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier

17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

The role of Sodium for the Enhancement of Solar Cells

17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>