Demonstration of MR-HIFU

New protocol uses MR-HIFU to release cancer drugs and ablate tumor tissue

June 02, 2017
by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter
A new preclinical study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science shows that MR-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound can induce heating to locally release cancer drugs and thermally destroy tumor tissue.

This research was pioneered by scientists at Philips Research, Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands and University Hospital of Cologne in Germany.

For the procedure, MR-HIFU induces therapeutic hyperthermia, which involves heating tumor tissue to 40 and 43 degrees Celsius to locally deliver chemotherapeutics. The temperature of the tissue is then elevated to 55 degrees Celsius and higher in order to ablate the tissue.

MR imaging is performed simultaneously to provide anatomical information on the treatment area. The MR signal can also be used to measure the temperature of the tumor.

For the study, the researchers used MR-HIFU to induce the release of the chemotherapeutic Doxorubicin and provide high-temperature ablation therapy to treat a skeletal muscle tumor.

Their goal was to establish a protocol that could both destroy the majority of the tumor with heat as well as treat cells in the tumor margin without affecting the surrounding tissue.

The most effective protocol was found to involve injecting Doxorubicin, administering two 15-minute sessions of hyperthermia and then ablating the tumor core. That was shown to increase survival time threefold compared to the unheated administration of Doxorubicin.

"This has been an important scientific milestone in our research," Edwin Heijman, senior research scientist, Oncology Solutions department at Philips Research, said in a statement. "I am convinced that we can use this approach for clinical translation with our partners."

A clinical study investigating this new protocol will be conducted by the German BMBF project TSL-LIFU along with the biopharmaceutical company Thermosome and the University Hospital of Cologne and University Hospital of Munich.