Engineers from the University of Waterloo have developed an innovative artificial intelligence (AI)-powered imaging system that aims to transform cancer treatment. By harnessing the power of AI, the engineers have enhanced the accuracy and safety of high-intensity, focused ultrasound therapy, a non-invasive cancer treatment that can destroy various types of tumors.
High-intensity, focused ultrasound therapy utilizes high-frequency sound waves to target and heat cancer cells, effectively eliminating them. While this technique has been in use since the 1970s and offers advantages such as minimal invasiveness and faster patient recovery, it has notable limitations. One of the challenges is the difficulty in precisely controlling the treatment, which can inadvertently harm healthy tissue surrounding the tumor or leave parts of the tumor untreated, allowing it to spread.
Led by project leader Moslem Sadeghi Goughari, a research associate in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, the team developed a comprehensive system that enables accurate monitoring of the treatment in real-time. The system combines hardware and software components to optimize precision and safety.
For the hardware aspect, the engineers employed a focused ultrasound transducer to deliver ultrasound energy to the targeted area and used an ultrasound imaging probe to capture images during the treatment. To ensure precise alignment between the probe and the transducer, a robotic arm was utilized, enabling the generation of accurate images throughout the treatment.
The software component of the system incorporates an AI framework that rapidly analyzes ultrasound images taken before and after each application. The AI framework can process an astounding 45 frames of ultrasound images per second, making it suitable for real-time monitoring. Within a remarkable 22-millisecond timeframe, the system can accurately detect the extent of tumor destruction with an impressive accuracy rate of 93%.
By providing doctors with precise information about the ablated area, the AI-powered imaging system empowers them to exert greater control over the treatment, ensuring the effective elimination of tumors while safeguarding healthy tissue. This innovative solution showcases the potential of AI in revolutionizing cancer treatment and sets a promising foundation for further advancements.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is high-intensity, focused ultrasound therapy?
High-intensity, focused ultrasound therapy is a non-invasive treatment technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to destroy cancer cells without the need for incisions or surgeries. It has been utilized to treat various types of cancers, including prostate, breast, and liver cancer.
What are the limitations of focused ultrasound therapy?
One of the limitations of focused ultrasound therapy is the challenge of precise control. Without accurate monitoring, the treatment can inadvertently damage healthy tissue or leave parts of the tumor untreated, allowing the cancer to spread.
How does the AI-powered imaging system enhance the treatment?
The AI-powered imaging system allows for real-time monitoring of the treatment process. By rapidly analyzing ultrasound images before and after each application, the system can accurately detect the extent of tumor destruction and provide doctors with precise information, enhancing their ability to control the treatment and minimize harm to healthy tissue.
What is the accuracy rate of the AI-powered imaging system?
The AI-powered imaging system boasts an impressive accuracy rate of 93% in determining the extent of tumor destruction. This high level of accuracy enables doctors to detect the ablated area margin with precision in the range of micrometers.
(Sources: University of Waterloo: `URL`)