Visualizing the Histotripsy Process: Bubble Cloud-Cancer Cell Interactions in a Tissue-Mimicking Environment.
ABSTRACT: Histotripsy is a non-invasive ultrasonic ablation method that uses cavitation to mechanically fractionate tissue into acellular debris. With a sufficient number of pulses, histotripsy can completely fractionate tissue into a liquid-appearing homogenate with no cellular structures. The location, shape and size of lesion formation closely match those of the cavitation cloud. Previous work has led to the hypothesis that the rapid expansion and collapse of histotripsy bubbles fractionate tissue by inducing large stress and strain on the tissue structures immediately adjacent to the bubbles. In the work described here, the histotripsy bulk tissue fractionation process is visualized at the cellular level for the first time using a custom-built 2-MHz transducer incorporated into a microscope stage. A layer of breast cancer cells were cultured within an optically transparent fibrin-based gel phantom to mimic cells inside a 3-D extracellular matrix. To test the hypothesis, the cellular response to single and multiple histotripsy pulses was investigated using high-speed optical imaging. Bubbles were always generated in the extracellular space, and significant cell displacement/deformation was observed for cells directly adjacent to the bubble during both bubble expansion and collapse. The largest displacements were observed during collapse for cells immediately adjacent to the bubble, with cells moving more than 150-300 ?m in less than 100 ?s. Cells often underwent multiple large deformations (>150% strain) over multiple pulses, resulting in the bisection of cells multiple times before complete removal. To provide theoretical support to the experimental observations, a numerical simulation was conducted using a single-bubble model, which indicated that histotripsy exerts the largest strains and cell displacements in the regions immediately adjacent to the bubble. The experimental and simulation results support our hypothesis, which helps to explain the formation of the sharp lesions formed in histotripsy therapy localized to the regions directly exposed to the bubbles.
Project description:Microscopic residual bubble nuclei can persist on the order of 1 s following a cavitation event. These bubbles can limit the efficacy of ultrasound therapies such as shock wave lithotripsy and histotripsy, because they attenuate pulses that arrive subsequent to their formation and seed repetitive cavitation activity at a discrete set of sites (cavitation memory). Here, we explore a strategy for the removal of these residual bubbles following a cavitation event, using low-amplitude ultrasound pulses to stimulate bubble coalescence. All experiments were conducted in degassed water and monitored using high-speed photography. In each case, a 2-MHz histotripsy transducer was used to initiate cavitation activity (a cavitational bubble cloud), the collapse of which generated a population of residual bubble nuclei. This residual nuclei population was then sonicated using a 1 ms pulse from a separate 500-kHz transducer, which we term the bubble removal pulse. Bubble removal pulse amplitudes ranging from 0 to 1.7 MPa were tested, and the backlit area of shadow from bubbles remaining in the field following bubble removal was calculated to quantify efficacy. It was found that an ideal amplitude range exists (roughly 180 to 570 kPa) in which bubble removal pulses stimulate the aggregation and subsequent coalescence of residual bubble nuclei, effectively removing them from the field. Further optimization of bubble removal pulse sequences stands to provide an adjunct to cavitation-based ultrasound therapies such as shock wave lithotripsy and histotripsy, mitigating the effects of residual bubble nuclei that currently limit their efficacy.
Project description:The efficacy of ultrasound therapies such as hock-wave lithotripsy and histotripsy can be compromised by residual cavitation bubble nuclei that persist following the collapse of primary cavitation. In our previous work, we have developed a unique strategy for mitigating the effects of these residual bubbles using low-amplitude ultrasound pulses to stimulate their aggregation and subsequent coalescence—effectively removing them from the field. Here, we further develop this bubble removal strategy through an investigation of the effect of frequency on the consolidation process. Bubble removal pulses ranging from 0.5 to 2 MHz were used to sonicate the population of residual nuclei produced upon collapse of a histotripsy bubble cloud. For each frequency, mechanical index(MI) values ranging from 0 to approximately 1.5 were tested.Results indicated that, when evaluated as a function of bubble removal pulse MI, the efficacy of bubble removal shows markedly similar trends for all frequencies tested. This behavior divides into three distinct regimes (with provided cutoffs being approximate): 1) MI < 0.2: Minimal effect on the population of remanent cavitation nuclei; 2) 0.2 < MI < 1: Aggregation and subsequent coalescence of residual bubbles, the extent of which trends toward a maximum; and 3) MI > 1: Bubble coalescence is compromised as bubble removal pulses induce high-magnitude inertial cavitation of residual bubbles. The major distinction in these trends came for bubble removal pulses applied at 2 MHz, which were observed to generate the most effective bubble coalescence of all frequencies tested. We hypothesize that this is a consequence of the secondary Bjerknes force being the major facilitator of the consolidation process, the magnitude of which increases when the bubble size distribution is far from resonance such that the phase difference of oscillation of individual bubbles is minimal.
Project description:Histotripsy has been shown to be an effective treatment for model kidney stones, eroding their surface to tiny particulate debris via a cavitational bubble cloud. However, similar to shock wave lithotripsy, histotripsy stone treatments display a rate-dependent efficacy, with pulses applied at a low rate generating more efficient stone erosion in comparison with those applied at a high rate. This is hypothesized to be the result of residual cavitation bubble nuclei generated by bubble cloud collapse. Although the histotripsy bubble cloud only lasts on the order of 100 ?s, these microscopic remnant bubbles can persist on the order of 1 s, inducing direct attenuation of subsequent histotripsy pulses and influencing bubble cloud dynamics. In an effort to mitigate these effects, we have developed a novel strategy to actively remove residual cavitation nuclei from the field using low-amplitude ultrasound pulses. Previous work has demonstrated that with selection of the appropriate acoustic parameters these bubble removal pulses can stimulate the aggregation and subsequent coalescence of microscopic bubble nuclei, effectively deleting them from the target volume. Here, we incorporate bubble removal pulses in histotripsy treatment of model kidney stones. It was found that when histotripsy is applied at low rate (1 Hz), bubble removal does not produce a statistically significant change in erosion. At higher pulse rates of 10, 100, and 500 Hz, incorporating bubble removal results in 3.7-, 7.5-, and 2.7-fold increases in stone erosion, respectively. High-speed imaging indicates that the introduction of bubble removal pulses allows bubble cloud dynamics resulting from high pulse rates to more closely approximate those generated at the low rate of 1 Hz. These results corroborate previous work in the field of shock wave lithotripsy regarding the ill effects of residual bubble nuclei, and suggest that high treatment efficiency can be recovered at high pulse rates through appropriate manipulation of the cavitation environment surrounding the stone.
Project description:Acoustic aberrations caused by natural heterogeneities of biological soft tissue are a substantial problem for histotripsy, a therapeutic ultrasound technique that uses acoustic cavitation to mechanically fractionate and destroy unwanted target tissue without damaging surrounding tissue. These aberrations, primarily caused by sound speed variations, result in severe defocusing of histotripsy pulses, thereby decreasing treatment efficacy. The gold standard for aberration correction (AC) is to place a hydrophone at the desired focal location to directly measure phase aberrations, which is a method that is infeasible in vivo. We hypothesized that the acoustic cavitation emission (ACE) shockwaves from the initial expansion of inertially cavitating microbubbles generated by histotripsy can be used as a point source for AC. In this study, a 500-kHz, 112-element histotripsy phased array capable of transmitting and receiving ultrasound on all channels was used to acquire ACE shockwaves. These shockwaves were first characterized optically and acoustically. It was found that the shockwave pressure increases significantly as the source changes from a single bubble to a dense cavitation cloud. The first arrival of the shockwave received by the histotripsy array was from the outer-most cavitation bubbles located closest to the histotripsy array. Hydrophone and ACE AC methods were then tested on ex vivo porcine abdominal tissue samples. Without AC, the focal pressure is reduced by 49.7% through the abdominal tissue. The hydrophone AC approach recovered 55.5% of the lost pressure. Using the ACE AC method, over 20% of the lost pressure was recovered, and the array power required to induce cavitation was reduced by approximately 31.5% compared to without AC. These results supported our hypothesis that the ACE shockwaves coupled with a histotripsy array with transmit and receive capability can be used for AC for histotripsy through soft tissue.
Project description:Histotripsy is an ultrasonic tissue ablation method based on acoustic cavitation. It has been shown that cavitation dynamics change depending on the mechanical properties of the host medium. During histotripsy treatment, the target-tissue is gradually fractionated and eventually liquefied to acellular homogenate. In this study, the change in the collapse time (t col) of the cavitation bubble cloud over the course of histotripsy treatment is investigated as an indicator for progression of the tissue fractionation process throughout treatment. A 500?kHz histotripsy transducer is used to generate single-location lesions within tissue-mimicking agar phantoms of varying stiffness levels as well as ex vivo bovine liver samples. Cavitation collapse signals are acquired with broadband hydrophones, and cavitation is imaged optically using a high-speed camera in transparent tissue-mimicking phantoms. The high-speed-camera-acquired measurements of t col validate the acoustic hydrophone measurements. Increases in t col are observed both with decreasing phantom stiffness and throughout histotripsy treatment with increasing number of pulses applied. The increasing trend of t col throughout the histotripsy treatment correlates well with the progression of lesion formation generated in tissue-mimicking phantoms (R 2??=??0.87). Finally, the increasing trend of t col over the histotripsy treatment is validated in ex vivo bovine liver.
Project description:Histotripsy is a therapy that focuses short-duration, high-amplitude pulses of ultrasound to incite a localized cavitation cloud that mechanically breaks down tissue. To investigate the mechanism of cloud formation, high-speed photography was used to observe clouds generated during single histotripsy pulses. Pulses of 5-20 cycles duration were applied to a transparent tissue phantom by a 1-MHz spherically focused transducer. Clouds initiated from single cavitation bubbles that formed during the initial cycles of the pulse, and grew along the acoustic axis opposite the propagation direction. Based on these observations, we hypothesized that clouds form as a result of large negative pressure generated by the backscattering of shockwaves from a single bubble. The positive-pressure phase of the wave inverts upon scattering and superimposes on the incident negative-pressure phase to create this negative pressure and cavitation. The process repeats with each cycle of the incident wave, and the bubble cloud elongates toward the transducer. Finite-amplitude propagation distorts the incident wave such that the peak-positive pressure is much greater than the peak-negative pressure, which exaggerates the effect. The hypothesis was tested with two modified incident waves that maintained negative pressure but reduced the positive pressure amplitude. These waves suppressed cloud formation which supported the hypothesis.
Project description:Histotripsy produces tissue fractionation through dense energetic bubble clouds generated by short, high-pressure, ultrasound pulses. Conventional histotripsy treatments have used longer pulses from 3 to 10 cycles, wherein the lesion-producing bubble cloud generation depends on the pressure-release scattering of very high peak positive shock fronts from previously initiated, sparsely distributed bubbles (the shock-scattering mechanism). In our recent work, the peak negative pressure (P-) for generation of dense bubble clouds directly by a single negative half cycle, the intrinsic threshold, was measured. In this paper, the dense bubble clouds and resulting lesions (in red blood cell phantoms and canine tissues) generated by these supra-intrinsic threshold pulses were studied. A 32-element, PZT-8, 500-kHz therapy transducer was used to generate very short (<2 cycles) histotripsy pulses at a pulse repetition frequency (PRF) of 1 Hz and P- from 24.5 to 80.7 MPa. The results showed that the spatial extent of the histotripsy-induced lesions increased as the applied P- increased, and the sizes of these lesions corresponded well to the estimates of the focal regions above the intrinsic cavitation threshold, at least in the lower pressure regime (P- = 26 to 35 MPa). The average sizes for the smallest reproducible lesions were approximately 0.9 × 1.7 mm (lateral × axial), significantly smaller than the -6-dB beamwidth of the transducer (1.8 × 4.0 mm). These results suggest that, using the intrinsic threshold mechanism, well-confined and microscopic lesions can be precisely generated and their spatial extent can be estimated based on the fraction of the focal region exceeding the intrinsic cavitation threshold. Because the supra-threshold portion of the negative half cycle can be precisely controlled, lesions considerably less than a wavelength are easily produced, hence the term microtripsy.
Project description:Boiling histotripsy is a promising High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) technique that can be used to induce mechanical tissue fractionation at the HIFU focus via cavitation. Two different types of cavitation produced during boiling histotripsy exposure can contribute towards mechanical tissue destruction: (1) a boiling vapour bubble at the HIFU focus and (2) cavitation clouds in between the boiling bubble and the HIFU source. Control of the extent and degree of mechanical damage produced by boiling histotripsy is necessary when treating a solid tumour adjacent to normal tissue or major blood vessels. This is, however, difficult to achieve with boiling histotripsy due to the stochastic formation of the shock scattering-induced inertial cavitation clouds. In the present study, a new histotripsy method termed pressure-modulated shockwave histotripsy is proposed as an alternative to or in addition to boiling histotripsy without inducing the shock scattering effect. The proposed concept is (a) to generate a boiling vapour bubble via localised shockwave heating and (b) subsequently control its extent and lifetime through manipulating peak pressure magnitudes and a HIFU pulse length. To demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed method, bubble dynamics induced at the HIFU focus in an optically transparent liver tissue phantom were investigated using a high speed camera and a passive cavitation detection systems under a single 10, 50 or 100 ms-long 2, 3.5 or 5 MHz pressure-modulated HIFU pulse with varying peak positive and negative pressure amplitudes from 5 to 89 MPa and -3.7 to -14.6 MPa at the focus. Furthermore, a numerical simulation of 2D nonlinear wave propagation with the presence of a boiling bubble at the focus of a HIFU field was conducted by numerically solving the generalised Westervelt equation. The high speed camera experimental results showed that, with the proposed pressure-modulated shockwave histotripsy, boiling bubbles generated by shockwave heating merged together, forming a larger bubble (of the order of a few hundred micron) at the HIFU focus. This coalesced boiling bubble then persisted and maintained within the HIFU focal zone until the end of the exposure (10, 50, or 100 ms). Furthermore, and most importantly, no violent cavitation clouds which typically appear in boiling histotripsy occurred during the proposed histotripsy excitation (i.e. no shock scattering effect). This was likely because that the peak negative pressure magnitude of the backscattered acoustic field by the boiling bubble was below the cavitation cloud intrinsic threshold. The size of the coalesced boiling bubble gradually increased with the peak pressure magnitudes. In addition, with the proposed method, an oval shaped lesion with a length of 0.6 mm and a width of 0.1 mm appeared at the HIFU focus in the tissue phantom, whereas a larger lesion in the form of a tadpole (length: 2.7 mm, width: 0.3 mm) was produced by boiling histotripsy. Taken together, these results suggest that the proposed pressure-modulated shockwave histotripsy could potentially be used to induce a more spatially localised tissue destruction with a desired degree of mechanical damage through controlling the size and lifetime of a boiling bubble without the shock scattering effect.
Project description:Histotripsy utilizes focused ultrasound to generate bubble clouds for transcutaneous tissue liquefaction. Bubble activity maps are under development to provide image guidance and monitor treatment progress. The aim of this paper was to investigate the feasibility of using plane wave B-mode and passive cavitation images to be used as binary classifiers of histotripsy-induced liquefaction. Prostate tissue phantoms were exposed to histotripsy pulses over a range of pulse durations (5- ) and peak negative pressures (12-23 MPa). Acoustic emissions were recorded during the insonation and beamformed to form passive cavitation images. Plane wave B-mode images were acquired following the insonation to detect the hyperechoic bubble cloud. Phantom samples were sectioned and stained to delineate the liquefaction zone. Correlation between passive cavitation and plane wave B-mode images and the liquefaction zone was assessed using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis. Liquefaction of the phantom was observed for all the insonation conditions. The area under the ROC (0.94 versus 0.82), accuracy (0.90 versus 0.83), and sensitivity (0.81 versus 0.49) was greater for passive cavitation images relative to B-mode images ( ) along the azimuth of the liquefaction zone. The specificity was greater than 0.9 for both imaging modalities. These results demonstrate a stronger correlation between histotripsy-induced liquefaction and passive cavitation imaging compared with the plane wave B-mode imaging, albeit with limited passive cavitation image range resolution.
Project description:Boiling histotripsy is a High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) technique which uses a number of short pulses with high acoustic pressures at the HIFU focus to induce mechanical tissue fractionation. In boiling histotripsy, two different types of acoustic cavitation contribute towards mechanical tissue destruction: a boiling vapour bubble and cavitation clouds. An understanding of the mechanisms underpinning these phenomena and their dynamics is therefore paramount to predicting and controlling the overall size of a lesion produced for a given boiling histotripsy exposure condition. A number of studies have shown the effects of shockwave heating in generating a boiling bubble at the HIFU focus and have studied its dynamics under boiling histotripsy insonation. However, not much is known about the subsequent production of cavitation clouds that form between the HIFU transducer and the boiling bubble. The main objective of the present study is to examine what causes this bubble cluster formation after the generation of a boiling vapour bubble. A numerical simulation of 2D nonlinear wave propagation with the presence of a bubble at the focus of a HIFU field was performed using the k-Wave MATLAB toolbox for time domain ultrasound simulations, which numerically solves the generalised Westervelt equation. The numerical results clearly demonstrate the appearance of the constructive interference of a backscattered shockwave by a bubble with incoming incident shockwaves. This interaction (i.e., the reflected and inverted peak positive phase from the bubble with the incoming incident rarefactional phase) can eventually induce a greater peak negative pressure field compared to that without the bubble at the HIFU focus. In addition, the backscattered peak negative pressure magnitude gradually increased from 17.4 MPa to 31.6 MPa when increasing the bubble size from 0.2 mm to 1.5 mm. The latter value is above the intrinsic cavitation threshold of -28 MPa in soft tissue. Our results suggest that the formation of a cavitation cloud in boiling histotripsy is a threshold effect which primarily depends (a) the size and location of a boiling bubble, and (b) the sum of the incident field and that scattered by a bubble.