Development of innovative superficial hyperthermia applicators including automatic real-time adjustments for treatment optimization

Proponente Marta Cavagnaro - Professore Associato
Sottosettore ERC del proponente del progetto
Componenti gruppo di ricerca
Componente Categoria
Alessandro Napoli Componenti strutturati del gruppo di ricerca
Marilena Vendittelli Componenti strutturati del gruppo di ricerca

Superficial hyperthermia (HT) is a therapeutic technique used in conjunction with chemo- and/or radio-therapy to treat superficial tumours, i.e. lesions within a few cm from the skin layer. HT goal is to induce into the tumour a temperature of about 40°C ¿ 45°C for about 60 min. In microwave HT, the temperature increase is achieved through the absorption into the tissue of an electromagnetic (EM) field at microwave (MW) frequencies, radiated by an antenna placed on the surface of the human body. Clinical trials proved that treatment outcomes are critically related to the quality and timing of the HT sessions, i.e. the ability of reaching and maintaining HT temperatures at the target, while ¿ at the same time ¿ sparing the healthy tissue. Maintaining the antenna positioning and HT temperatures all along a single treatment duration, as well as accurately reproducing antenna placement in all the treatments prescribed by the therapeutic program, remain critical issues not addressed in current systems. At present, the antenna is manually located by the clinician and a passive arm keeps it in a fixed pose, without any automatic spatial control or imaging guidance. This leaves the accuracy and reproducibility, and hence efficacy, of the therapy difficult to guarantee and monitor. Aim of the research is to investigate the use of a robotic arm to accurately move the antenna to the planned position and keep it at the desired pose for the whole treatment duration, despite possible patient¿s movements. In the project, an antenna in clinical use will be characterized to calculate the EM power transferred to the tissue and the EM compatibility with a robotic arm used for healthcare applications. Human-robot physical interaction control methodologies, combined with localization and tracking algorithms, will allow achieving safe and easy positioning and adaptation of the antenna in a human-robot cooperative fashion, thus improving treatment accuracy and reproducibility.

PE7_10, LS7_6, PE7_3

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