Under sponsorship of a Phase II SBIR grant from the National Cancer Institute (grant 2R44CA189515-02A1) we have started a clinical study at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) to validate computer models that simulate the electrical and thermal physics that take place in Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA) of liver tumors. During this study we will be collecting post-interventional MRI images on patients undergoing liver RFA – under informed consent and IRB approval. These MRI images revel the true extend and three-dimensional geometry of the tissues that have been necrotized, and we will compare this information to predictions from a computer model developed by NE Scientific. Previous validation activities have already shown that the computer model is able to predict with high accuracy the volume and geometry of the tissues that are necrotized and if this is repeated in this new study, we will be able to transition to a clinical trial where the models and software we are developing will be used to guide physicians who are performing RFA. It is expected that computer guidance could result in significant improvement of outcomes, as it will ensure that physicians will be able to consistently kill all the malignant tissues for medium and large tumors – a goal which is challenging today.
The image shown above has been produced in the analysis of the data which is being produced in the study. The gray-colored surfaces are generated from intraoperative CT images, besides the ribs and spine, on the right top part of the figure it is possible to see the tines of an RFA probe deployed in the tissues. The red-colored surfaces are generated from a post-interventional MRI image and are used, in this representation, to verify that the alignment of the MRI to the CT images after co-registration is correct.