Foundation-funded Research Update: Using Nonlinear Waves to Accelerate Thermal Ablation


vera khokhlova smWould it be possible to improve one focused ultrasound mechanism by combining it with another? This is the question that Vera Khokhlova, PhD, and her research team at the University of Washington aimed to answer when they applied for a Foundation External Research Award.

The group recently completed the project, “Use of Shock-wave Exposures for Accelerating Thermal Ablation of Targeted Tissue Volumes.” Though known for their boiling histotripsy technology to mechanically liquefy tissue, the team sought to enhance thermal high-intensity focused ultrasound treatments with “shock-enhanced” exposures. They tested whether the presence of shocks, a key component of boiling histotripsy, could reduce ablation time and prevent heating issues in the near-field and surrounding tissues, among other benefits. The group’s simulation studies and experiments were performed using Sonalleve V2 clinical HIFU system of UW in collaboration with colleagues from Moscow State University (Russia) and Profound Medical (Canada).

Boiling histotripsy typically delivers millisecond-long pulses with high-amplitude shocks to targeted sites along some trajectory at low duty cycles. Could similar exposures be delivered at higher repetition rates to shorten treatment times, reduce unwanted heating, mitigate diffusion and perfusion effects, and create sharper lesion margins?

Access the report on the Foundation’s preprint server, the FocUS Archive >