The Potential for Ultrasonic Image-Guided Therapy Using a Diagnostic System
Ultrasound can be used for a variety of therapeutic purposes. High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) has progressed over the past decade to become a viable therapeutic method and is valuable as a non-invasive alternative to many surgical procedures. Ultrasonic thermal therapies can also be used to release thermally sensitive liposomes encapsulating chemotherapeutic drugs. In the brain, the permeability of the blood-brain barrier to drugs, antibodies, and gene transfer can be increased with a mechanical mechanism using ultrasound and contrast agent.
The work presented in this dissertation tests the hypothesis that a diagnostic system can be used for combined imaging and therapeutic applications. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of a diagnostic system for use in therapeutic applications, a set of non-destructive tests is developed that can predict the potential for high acoustic output. A rigorous, nondestructive testing regimen for standard, diagnostic transducers to evaluate their potential for therapeutic use is formulated. Based on this work, transducer heating is identified as the largest challenge. The design and evaluation of several custom diagnostic transducers with various modifications to reduce internal heating are described. These transducers are compared with diagnostic controls using image contrast, face heating, hydrophone, and ARFI displacement measurements. From these results, we conclude that the most promising design is a passively and actively cooled, PZT-4 multilayer composite transducer, while the acoustically lossless lens and capactive micro-machined transducers evaluated herein are determined to be ineffective.
Three therapeutic applications are evaluated for the combined system. Image-guided spot ablations, such as in the treatment of early stage liver cancers, could not be successfully performed; however, the additional acoustic output requirements are determined to be on the order of 2.4 times those that can be currently produced without transducer damage in a clinically relevant amount of time (10-20 seconds per spot). The potential of a diagnostic system for a hyperthermia application is shown by producing temperatures for the duration necessary to release chemotherapeutic agents from thermally-activated liposomes without damage to the transducer. Finally, a mechanically-based therapeutic method for opening the BBB with ultrasonic contrast agent and specialized sonication regimes under ultrasonic B-mode guidance is demonstrated.
These studies indicate that a diagnostic system is capable of both moderate thermal and mechanical therapeutic applications under co-registered image-guidance.
intensity focused ultrasound
acoustic radiation force impulse imaging
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