An external ultrasound system was developed for the heating of subcutaneously implanted tumours in small animals. This small animal hyperthermia ultrasound system (SAHUS) was designed to be compatible with a microPET (small animal positron emission tomography) scanner to facilitate studies of hyperthermia effects on tumour hypoxia. Collimation and localization of energy deposition, a specific goal for the new device to avoid regional and/or systemic heating of small animals, was demonstrated using thermoradiography following high-power short-time heating of a layered gel phantom. The in vivo heating capabilities of the SAHUS were tested using PCS cell line tumours (2000-2700 mm3) grown in the lateral proximal thighs of Nu-/Nu- nuBR nude mice. Intratumour temperatures were recorded during heating trials with deep and superficial interstitial thermocouples. The experimental data showed that the SAHUS could produce hyperthermia in 8 ± 2 mm diameter tumours in small animals to a target temperature of 41.5°C and maintain it within a narrow temperature range (± 0.3°C) for up to 4 h without raising the core temperature of the animals. PET imaging studies, data to be published separately, were conducted before and during SAHUS-induced hyperthermia. Both devices performed as expected and there was no significant decrease in image quality. In this paper, the new SAHUS is described and data from phantom and in vivo experiments presented.
- Ultrasou nd