Researchers led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing think they’ve overcome the challenges standing in the way of using ultrasound to kill cancer tumors in organs that move with breathing.
Until now, health practitioners have mostly limited ultrasound to treating prostate cancer, bone metastases and uterine myoma, according to the Fraunhofer Institute (Bremen, Germany). Organs that move when a patient breathes are trickier, with doctors telling patients to hold their breath or putting the patients under anesthesia.
The Trans-Fusimo project – a Fraunhofer-coordinated effort including 11 research institutions in 7 countries – developed a new ultrasound therapy concept. The patient lies in an MRI producing an image of the liver’s position every 10th of a second while an ultrasound transducer with more than 1,000 small transmitters sits on the stomach. The MRI scanner controls the process, ensuring that the transducer only cooks the tumor cells and not healthy tissue.