Eindhoven University of Technology has announced the development of new methods for improving the thermal treatments of cancerous tumors using ultrasound technology. PhD student Daniel Deenen recently defended his thesis where he researched methods to accurately control the heating of cancer cells to 42 degrees Celsius to enhance the therapeutic efficacy of radio and chemotherapies without causing additional toxicity or side effects. Clinical trials for thermal cancer treatments employing such control methods are currently being prepared a the University Hospital of Cologne.
The system uses magnetic-resonance-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound (MR-HIFU) to treat the tumors. This treatment applies powerful and millimeter-accurate heating via ultrasound. In his research, Deenen developed algorithms to automatically steer the HIFU beams based on the real-time temperatures of the cancerous tissue, which is monitored with the use of an MRI scanner. With the real-time measurements and the self-guided beam control, the solution optimizes the cancer-killing effects of the treatment while maintaining safety with a completely noninvasive treatment option, contributing to patient comfort and well-being.