The biological effects of high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) have been known and studied for decades. HIFU has been shown capable of treating a wide variety of diseases and disorders. However, despite its demonstrated potential, HIFU has been slow to gain clinical acceptance. This is due, in part, to the difficulty associated with robustly monitoring and controlling the delivery of the HIFU energy. The non-invasive nature of the surgery makes the assessment of treatment progression difficult, leading to long treatment times and a significant risk of under treatment. This thesis research develops new techniques and systems for robustly monitoring HIFU therapies for the safe and efficacious delivery of the intended treatment. Systems and algorithms were developed for the two most common modes of HIFU delivery systems: single-element and phased array applicators. Delivering HIFU with a single element transducer is a widely used technique in HIFU therapies. The simplicity of a single element offers many benefits in terms of cost and overall system complexity. Typical monitoring schemes rely on an external device (e.g. diagnostic ultrasound or MRI) to assess the progression of therapy. The research presented in this thesis explores using the same element to both deliver and monitor the HIFU therapy. The use of a dual-mode ultrasound transducer (DMUT) required the development of an FPGA based single-channel arbitrary waveform generator and high-speed data acquisition unit. Data collected from initial uncontrolled ablations led to the development of monitoring and control algorithms which were implemented directly on the FPGA. Close integration between the data acquisition and arbitrary waveform units allowed for fast, low latency control over the ablation process. Results are presented that demonstrate control of HIFU therapies over a broad range of intensities and in multiple in vitro tissues.
The second area of investigation expands the DMUT research to an ultrasound phased-array. The phased-array allows for electronic steering of the HIFU focus and imaging of the acoustic medium. Investigating the dual-mode ultrasound array (DMUA) required the design and construction of a novel ultrasound-guided focused ultrasound (USgFUS) platform. The platform consisted of custom hardware designed for the unique requirements of operating a phased-array in both therapeutic and imaging modes. The platform also required the development of FPGA based signal processing and GPU based beamforming algorithms for online monitoring of the therapy process. The results presented in this thesis represent the first demonstration of a real-time USgFUS platform based around a DMUA. Experimental imaging and therapy results from series of animal experiments, including a 12 animal GLP study, are presented. In addition, in vitro control results, which build upon the DMUT work, are presented.