IIT Madras researchers have developed ultrasound-based temperature tracking for treatment monitoring which is non-invasive and portable, this is safer to use as there is no exposure to ionizing radiation and is suitable for point-of-care applications.
Indian Institute of Technology Madras Researchers has developed an Ultrasound-based temperature tracking for Treatment Monitoring. Unlike other imaging modalities, ultrasound combines several advantages such as safety (non-ionizing), real-time capability, and portability, among others.
The IIT Madras Research Team was awarded the ‘SITE – Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Appreciation 2020’ for this project.
This solution involves obtaining diagnostic ultrasound signals from the tissue region of interest inside the body, where heating is applied non-invasively from outside either through microwave applicator or High-intensity Focused ultrasound (HIFU), and process these signals, specifically, using prior knowledge from physics of wave interaction with the tissue medium.
Thermal Therapy using HIFU is already in use for treating solid tumors (both cancerous and benign). The current state-of-the-art technology monitors treatment using MRI (MR-guided HIFU). A popular clinical case is for treating Uterine Fibroids. The Technology developed by IIT Madras Researchers will be Ultrasound-based Monitoring, instead of MRI, thus making it accessible and affordable.
The Practical Benefits of IIT Madras Technology in the Healthcare Field Include:
Non-invasive treatment and real-time monitoring of the process
Safe to use as no exposure to ionising radiation is involved
Portable and suitable for point-of-care applications
The ultrasound-based real-time feedback can be readily integrated with low-intensity ultrasound heat therapy devices that are commonly used in most physiotherapy centers
Hyperthermia, likewise, has shown promise for several ailments. Examples include using RF-electrode in liver disease treatment or disease of the prostate. The IIT Madras Researchers‘ contribution is to monitor this in real-time when, specifically, the microwave is used. This combination makes it completely non-invasive and affordable. The results from these studies have been presented and published in various international IEEE society conferences over the last year.
Highlighting the advantages of this technology compared to existing technologies, Prof. Arun K. Thittai, Department of Applied Mechanics,
Having multi-parametric image feedback allows for accurate real-time monitoring for a wide range of thermal therapies. These techniques can be incorporated as software in existing scanners by the manufacturers and thus does not require any special electronics hardware
Currently, the IIT Madras researchers have demonstrated the feasibility of the methods using experiments done on tissue-mimicking phantoms and ex-vivo tissue samples. They are now working to convert these proof-of-concept methods to design an integrated microwave applicator cum ultrasound-based real-time imaging feedback for a possible clinical application.
The Research Team involves faculty from the Department of Engineering Design at IIT Madras for the microwave applicator aspect. A complete in-house setup for HIFU ablation has been established by the researchers from the Department of Applied Mechanic, IIT Madras.
The Technology Used in IIT Madras Ultrasound-based Temperature Tracking for Treatment Monitoring
Thermal (heat) therapy is used routinely for pain relief and rehabilitation of target tissue by inducing mild temperature elevation (60°C in ablation) is also exploited as a treatment option for some diseases, including ablation of a cancerous tumor. However, one of the major challenges that prevent these approaches from wide-spread use in clinical practice is the lack of reliable and affordable real-time feedback in the form of heat maps from the targeted treatment region.
Although several ultrasound-based methods have been proposed in the literature for temperature tracking, mostly for HIFU-ablation, maps of changes in other properties at different temperature realm have not been exploited. IIT Madras researchers have the advantage of having access to a complete signal chain of raw ultrasound data, and not just the final ultrasound image, that allows us to develop methods for tracking multiple different tissue parameter maps.
The list of Collaborators, Partner Institutes, and Funding Agencies of this Project Include
Dr. Kavitha Arunachalam, Associate Professor, Dept. of Engineering Design, IIT Madras
Aliarshad Kothawala, Ph.D. scholar, Dept. of Applied Mechanics, IIT Madras (recently joined Philips India after graduation)
Divya Baskaran, PhD scholar, Dept. of Engineering Design, IIT Madras
HIFU-Facility was established partly with funds from DST under the FIST program
Where was the IIT Madras Ultrasound-based Temperature Tracking for Treatment Monitoring Research Conducted
This research has been undertaken at the biomedical ultrasound laboratory at IIT Madras. Established in 2014, it is focussed on developing advanced, yet affordable, ultrasound imaging systems. They have filed for more than half a dozen technology patents in ultrasound imaging methods and devices in the last three years. A start-up has also been spun-off to develop an ultrasound scanner with proprietary technology that offers advanced and state-of-the-art features, yet is affordable.
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