Cancer Treatment via Laser-induced Thermotherapy

Starting with the beginning of this year the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the new project “ProMT”: Prognostic model based online MR-Thermometry for minimally invasive thermoablation to treat liver tumors. This is a cooperation of researchers from TU Kaiserlautern, the Fraunhofer ITWM and the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg.

The modeling of cancer growth and cancer treatment is challenging task for applied mathematicians which plays an increasing role during the decade. Besides surgery and chemotherapy, the use of radiation is one of the main tools in the therapy of cancer today. In particular, Laser Interstitial Thermo Therapy (LITT) is a well-established minimally invasive method for cancer treatment, especially for irresectable liver tumors.

page10image1536In LITT, an applicator device consisting of an optical laser fiber surrounded by water cooling is placed into the tumor tissue. The absorbed fraction of the laser light leads to a rise of the tissue temperature. For temperatures above 60 degree Celsius coagulation begins to take place due to protein denaturation leading to the destruction of tumor tissue. Commonly, the cancer treatment is guided by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Based on temperature-sensitive magnetic resonance parameters, such as proton resonance frequency, it is feasible to monitor the tissue temperature during the cancer treatment.

page3image3664The aim of our project is to use model based computer simulations to extract the tissue parameters via MRI and to predict the future effect of the LITT. To develop an online system which allows for predictions in realtime, we need appropriate models, model reduction techniques, specialised numerical tools and fast optimisation algorithms.

For more information contact René Pinnau (

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