Development of tissue-equivalent heat-sensitive gel for the experimental verification of near infrared (NIR) laser-mediated cancer detection and therapy
Siddiqi, Arsalan K.
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A few computational models currently exist to predict heat production and dissipation in tissue when a tumor containing optically-tunable gold nanoparticles such as nanoshells or nanorods is illuminated with near infrared (NIR) laser. The validity of any computational model still needs to be established by experiments before its wide use for various future clinical applications. One of the possible ways to validate the model is through the heat measurements within a phantom made with tissue-equivalent heat-sensitive gel. Currently, there are a few recipes available for this type of gel and the majority of them use severely toxic ingredients. However, none of them seems to perfectly serve the current purposes. Therefore, the primary goal of this thesis work was to develop and characterize two new types of heat-sensitive gels, using relatively non-toxic substances for the in-phantom validation of computational models. Specifically, two novel agar based phantoms, TG1 and TG2, were developed and characterized. The basic optical response of these phantoms at 808 nm NIR light was determined to test their equivalency to human tissue. Thermal damage to the phantoms was quantified by heating them to specific temperatures and obtaining calibration curves to relate temperature and R2 relaxation rates. The phantoms were scanned with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to obtain T2 values. TG1 gel, agar and bovine serum albumin (BSA) mixture, was found not to be optically tissue-equivalent. However, TG1 gel demonstrated unambiguous digital response capable of distinguishing temperature of at least 70 °C compared to the sample receiving no heat. Additionally, TG1 gel produced high degree of linearity in the thermal therapy temperature regime (60 - 80 °C). TG2 gel containing agar mixed with BSA and Intralipid has exhibited tissue equivalency based on laser transmission measurements. TG2 gel exhibited heat damage based on T2 values, only when the temperature reaches 80 °C. This digital response is considered less sensitive in view of the fact that BSA starts to undergo denaturing and cause optical density change at approximately 70 °C. Both gels, however, have shown to be thermally stable at temperatures up to 80 °C with no evidence of gel melting being observed.