Wellcome / EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences


Photoacoustic Imaging of Ablation for guiding and monitoring liver cancer treatment

Liver cancer is a major global health problem affecting an estimated 1.4 million people every year. Surgery is the main curative therapy but is suitable for only a minority of patients. Local ablative therapies (laser, radiofrequency, microwave, irreversible electroporation) can also be curative but are associated with a high rate of local recurrence. This is related to the difficulty of determining the adequacy of local treatment. Therefore a critical unmet need in liver cancer therapy is the ability to track the ablation zone in real-time during treatment in order to guide the procedure and assess efficacy. The aim of this project is to address this need by developing novel photoacoustic imaging techniques based on laser generated ultrasound waves for visualising ablation zones in tissue. 

The project will involve designing laser based laboratory apparatus and image processing techniques for imaging locally ablated tissues and perfused organs and ultimately measurements in vivo using a percutaneously placed instrument. If successful, this approach would reduce the local recurrence following local ablation therapy for liver cancer leading to improved oncological outcomes.

This project involves advanced optical engineering and instrumentation design, algorithm development, image processing and tissue characterisation studies of liver ablation therapy with a clear path to clinical application.


Professor Paul Beard