Focused RF hyperthermia using magnetic fluids
Heat therapies such as hyperthermia and thermoablation are very promising approaches in the treatment of cancer. Compared with available hyperthermia modalities, magnetic fluid hyperthermia (MFH) yields better results in uniform heating of the deeply situated tumors. In this approach, fluid consisting of superparamagnetic particles (magnetic fluid) is delivered to the tumor. An alternating (ac) magnetic field is then used to heat the particles and the corresponding tumor, thereby ablating it. However, one of the most serious shortcomings of this technique is the unwanted heating of the healthy tissues. This results from the magnetic fluid diffusion from the tumor to the surrounding tissues or from incorrect localization of the fluids in the target tumor area. In this study, the authors demonstrated that by depositing appropriate static (dc) magnetic field gradients on the alternating (ac) magnetic fields, focused heating of the magnetic particles can be achieved. A focused hyperthermia system was implemented by using two types of coils: dc and ac coils. The ac coil generated the alternating magnetic field responsible for the heating of the magnetic particles; the dc coil was used to superimpose a static magnetic field gradient on the alternating magnetic field. In this way, focused heating of the particles was obtained in the regions where the static field was dominated by the alternating magnetic field. In vitro experiments showed that as the magnitude of the dc solenoid currents was increased from 0 to 1.8 A, the specific absorption rate (SAR) of the superparamagnetic particles 2 cm apart from the ac solenoid center decreased by a factor of 4.5, while the SAR of the particles at the center was unchanged. This demonstrates that the hyperthermia system is capable of precisely focusing the heat at the center. Additionally, with this approach, shifting of the heat focus can be achieved by applying different amounts of currents to individual dc solenoids. In vivo experiments were performed with adult rats, where magnetic fluids were injected percutaneously into the tails (with homogeneous fluid distribution inside the tails). Histological examination showed that, as we increased the dc solenoid current from 0.5 to 1.8 A, the total burned volume decreased from 1.6 to 0.2 cm3 verifying the focusing capability of the system. The authors believe that the studies conducted in this work show that MFH can be a much more effective method with better heat localization and focusing abilities.