Virtual bronchoscopy guided microwave ablation of early-stage lung tumors
Supported by: NIH/NCI R01CA218357
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the US and worldwide. With increased detection of peripheral nodules through CT screening, the number of patients with localized disease that can be treated with minimally-invasively is expected to increase substantially. Bronchoscopic approaches for delivering biopsy and thermal ablation tools to lung nodules have potential to serve as a “one-stop-shop” for diagnosis and treatment of lung nodules, with considerably reduced risk of pneumothorax compared to percutaneous approaches. We are developing flexible microwave ablation applicators, suitable for bronchoscopic delivery to lung tumor targets, and integrating these with clinically stablished virtual bronchoscopy and navigation systems. Our ongoing efforts are geared towards the development of simulation-based tools to guide delivery of microwave ablation. The overall goal of this effort is to evaluate the technical feasibility and safety of delivering virtual bronchoscopy guided microwave ablation of lung tumors in a first-in-human clinical study. This work is conducted in close collaboration with colleagues at the KSU College of Veterinary Medicine, clinicians at the British Columbia Cancer Agency, as well as industry partners at phenoMapper and Broncus Medical.
An image-guided thermal therapy approach for treatment of primary aldosteronism
Supported by: NIH/NIBIB R01EB028848; collaborating teams at NUIG and Ulster co-funded by SFI/HRB/HSC-R&D through US-Ireland R&D Partnership Program
Primary aldosteronism accounts for >10% of all systemic hypertension, and is driven by unregulated aldosterone secretion from aldosterone producing adrenal adenomas. The definitive treatment approach, surgical adrenalectomy, is contraindicated for patients with disease in both adrenal glands. In collaboration with endocrinologists and engineers, we are developing a system for precise, image guided sub-ablative microwave thermal therapy of targeted adenomas to thermally disrupt aldosterone secretion from pathologic cells, while thermally sparing adjacent normally functioning adrenal cortex. We are conducting in vitro thermal dosimetry experiments to identify target thermal doses for disrupting aldosterone secretion, and are evaluating these thermal doses in vivo in a murine disease model. We are developing microwave ablation devices and energy delivery systems tailored for conformal thermal therapy to ~10 mm targets in the adrenal gland. In collaboration with nanotechnologists, we are investigating the development of contrast agents for post-treatment imaging-based assessment of adrenal cell function to verify success. The integrated system will be experimentally evaluated in an in vivo large animal model. This work is conducted in close collaboration with colleagues at National University of Ireland-Galway, Ulster University, and the KSU College of Veterinary Medicine.
Microwave antenna and system design for precise delivery of thermal tissue ablation
Supported by: NSF IIP 1951186 (subaward from Precision Microwave); Hologic, Inc
Another area of our group's work is focused on the design of microwave antennas designed for conformal delivery of thermal ablation to site-specific targets. We employ an approach using electromagnetic and bioheat transfer models to explore and optimize antenna designs, integrated with device prototyping and fabrication for experimental evaluation on the benchtop, and when appropriate, in vivo. To facilitate accurate modeling of tissue-energy interactions, we perform experiments to characterize electromagnetic and thermal properties of tissue, including their dynamic variations during ablative procedures. We also employ simulations and experiments to explore energy-delivery strategies that may enhance the consistency of ablative procedures.
An area of particular interest is the development of microwave applicators with directional control of radiation pattern. Proof-of-principle antenna designs developed by our group have been advanced over several design cycles; following completion of the NSF I-Corps program, Austin Pfannenstiel founded Precision Microwave, Inc to drive technology translation. Our group collaborates closely with Precision Microwave, Inc, colleagues in the KSU College of Veterinary Medicine, and clinical advisors to further advance this technology.
Another area of current interest is the development of microwave ablation technologies for women's health applications, which we pursue via a long-standing collaboration with the R&D team at Hologic, Inc.
Multi-scale modeling and experimentation for characterizing tumor-immune system interactions stimulated by energy-based interventions
Supported by: KSU Johnson Cancer Research Center
The effects of energy-based (thermal; pulsed electric fields; mechanical) local interventions on tumor-immune system interactions have long been recognized, ranging from immunostimulatory to inhibitory responses. However, the conditions under which these interventions generate robust anti-tumor immune responses are not well understood. We are developing instrumentation for delivering controlled thermal doses in vitro and in vivo to quantify the biophysical changes to tumor cells and the microenvironment following thermal therapy. In vivo hyperthermia delivery instrumentation are integrated with high-field small-animal MRI thermometry for volumetric assessment of delivered thermal dose profiles. Data garnered from these studies will support computational modeling efforts for characterizing tumor-immune system interactions following energy-based interventions. The overall goal of these efforts is to inform the design of energy-based devices and treatment delivery strategies that complement immunotherapy drugs.