A novel matrix-array-based MR-conditional ultrasound system for local hyperthermia of small animals
Objective: The goal of this work was to develop a novel modular focused ultrasound hyperthermia (FUS-HT) system for preclinical applications with the following characteristics: MR-compatible, compact probe for integration into a PET/MR small animal scanner, 3D-beam steering capabilities, high resolution focusing for generation of spatially confined FUS-HT effects. Methods: For 3D-beam steering capabilities, a matrix array approach with 11 11 elements was chosen. For reaching the required level of integration, the array was mounted with a conductive backing directly on the interconnection PCB. The array is driven by a modified version of our 128 channel ultrasound research platform DiPhAS. The system was characterized using sound field measurements and validated using tissue-mimicking phantoms. Preliminary MR-compatibility tests were performed using a 7T Bruker MRI scanner. Results: Four 11 11 arrays between 0.5 and 2 MHz were developed and characterized with respect to sound field properties and HT generation. Focus sizes between 1 and 4 mm were reached depending on depth and frequency. We showed heating by 4C within 60 s in phantoms. The integration concept allows a probe thickness of less than 12 mm. Conclusion: We demonstrated FUS-HT capabilities of our modular system based on matrix arrays and a 128 channel electronics system within a 3D-steering range of up to 30. The suitability for integration into a small animal MR could be demonstrated in basic MR-compatibility tests. Significance: The developed system presents a new generation of FUS-HT for preclinical and translational work providing safe, reversible, localized, and controlled HT.