The mission of the engineering services core is to provide a common base of software and hardware systems and interfaces to support the five MRI guided cancer ablation program projects: 1) MR-guided HIFU of Soft Tissue Tumors, 2) Minimally Invasive MRI-Guided Management of Prostate Disease, 3) MR-Guided Precision Thermal Therapy of Retroperitoneal Tumors, 4) MRI Methods for Guiding Focused Ultrasound in the Brain, and 5) MR-Guided RF ablation. The software services will adapt the HeartVista real-time MRI package for interventional MRI applications and create tailored application specific interfaces, sequences, and control processes for each therapy. These services will provide in room projection display, needle placement and tracking software, real-time MRI temperature mapping and 3D visualization tools for iceball formation, high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) targeting and RF ablation volumes. For each ablation modality (cryo-ablation, HIFU, RF), treatment planning utilities can be developed. The hardware services will provide customized active device visualization methods for MRI, to support MR-Guided RF ablation, needle tracking for cryo-ablation and "smart-needle" biopsy of the prostate. Moreover, a versatile multi-channel RF console, MEDUSA, will be adapted as a master/slave device in the MR suite to provide extra RF exciter channels for RF ablation and interstitial HIFU applicators, and extra receiver channels for active device visualization. In the slave mode, this system can be controlled by a GE Signa scanner, while in Master mode, the system can directly control MRI acquisition through the HeartVista real-time MRI interface. The engineering services core will enable a rapid prototyping of sequences, techniques and customization to each therapy, with control unified by the real-time MRI software platform and MEDUSA hardware master/slave control system.
All forms of ablation will benefit from a well-integrated hardware and software interface with an MRI scanner. The engineering core will develop methods and interfaces to allow a very user-friendly control of ablation by MRI. This should reduce the treatment time and improve the targeting to cancer tumors.
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