High-intensity Focused Ultrasound: Software Assistance for Tumor Therapy

Clinical Challenge

Tumor therapy with high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a promising, noninvasive alternative to surgical intervention. Although this therapy is used clinically to treat prostate cancer, uterine fibroids and bone metastases, there are still challenges to overcome, for example a reliable treatment planning as well as the prediction of the outcome. The treatment of abdominal diseases such as liver or kidney tumors is even more challenging due to respiratory motion and ribcage shielding, which prevent the application of HIFU therapy to abdominal tumors in daily clinical practice.

Highlights & Technologies


Patient-Individual Planning

  • Numerical simulation of the entire treatment respecting patient-specific
    • Anatomy and tissue properties
    • Blood cooling
    • Risk structures
    • Organ movement and deformation
  • Efficient simulation methods using parallel computing on current graphics hardware
  • Development of clinically usable software prototype to assess the feasibility of an individual treatment

Clinical Translation of Technologies

Fraunhofer MEVIS is able to develop clinically applicable software prototypes for HIFU spanning the whole workflow of planning the procedure, conducting the treatment as well as the assessment of the outcome. Furthermore, we provide training and learning systems to help physicians in using new software tools as well as to learn from previous procedures.

Hardware Capabilities

A complete MR guided HIFU device is present at Fraunhofer MEVIS. It includes a Siemens 1.5T MRI as well as a research HIFU manufactured by a company in France. This hardware can be used to evaluate the simulation results using also a fibre optic thermometer.