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Title: Effect of blood flow on high intensity focused ultrasound therapy in an isolated, perfused liver model
Author: Holroyd, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 1725
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is an emerging non-invasive thermal ablative modality that can be utilised for the treatment of solid organ tumours, including liver cancer. Acoustic cavitation is a phenomenon that can occur during HIFU and its presence can enhance heating rates. One major limitation of thermal ablative techniques in general, such as radiofrequency and microwave ablation, is the heat sink effect imparted by large vasculature. Thermal advection from blood flow in vessels ≥ 3 - 4 mm in diameter has been shown to significantly reduce heating rates and peak temperatures in the target tissue, potentially leading to treatment failure. With regards to HIFU therapy, a clearer understanding is required of the effects of blood flow on heating, cavitation and thermal tissue necrosis, which is the treatment endpoint in clinical thermal ablation. Therefore, the overall aim of this thesis project was to elucidate the effects of blood flow on HIFU-induced heating, cavitation and histological assessment of thermal ablation. A unique isolated, perfused porcine liver model was used in order to provide a relevant test bed, with physiological and anatomical characteristics similar to the in vivo human liver. The normothermic liver perfusion device used in all studies presented in this work can keep an organ alive in a functional state ex vivo for in excess of 72 hours. A further advantage of the liver perfusion device was that it allowed blood flow to be stopped completely and resumed rapidly, allowing studies to be conducted under zero flow conditions. A therapeutic HIFU system was used in order to deliver HIFU therapy to regions of hepatic parenchyma adjacent (≤ 3 mm) to large (≥ 5 mm) blood vessels or away from vasculature (≥ 1 cm) at either 1.06 MHz or at 3.18 MHz. Cavitation events during HIFU therapy were spatio-temporally monitored using a previously developed passive acoustic mapping (PAM) technique. The cavitation threshold at each frequency was determined through assessment of acoustic emissions acquired through PAM during HIFU exposure at a range of acoustic pressures. Real time thermal data during HIFU therapy were obtained using an implantable 400 μm thermocouple, aligned with the HIFU focus, in order to assess the effect of large vessel blood flow on peak tissue temperatures. Thermal data were obtained at 1.06 MHz, in the presence of acoustic cavitation and at 3.18 MHz, in the absence of cavitation, both in the presence and complete absence of blood flow. Finally, histological assessment of cell viability and cell death was performed in order to determine whether any heat sink effect could be overcome, with the achievement of complete tissue necrosis in treatment regions directly adjacent to large vasculature. This work demonstrated for the first time that in perfused, functional liver tissue, the presence of large vasculature and physiological blood flow does not significantly affect ablative HIFU therapy, both in terms of peak focal tissue temperatures attained and histological evidence of complete tissue necrosis. Therefore, HIFU may be superior to other ablative modalities in treating tumours in tissue regions adjacent to major vascular structures, but further work needs to be performed to correlate the experimental findings with clinical outcomes.
Supervisor: Coussios, Constantin ; Friend, Peter Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ablative therapies ; Liver cancer ; Surgery ; Organ preservation ; High intensity focused ultrasound ; HIFU ; Cancer ; Perfusion ; Ultrasound ; Normothermic perfusion ; Ablation ; Heat sink ; Cavitation ; Liver