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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to develop micron-sized droplet emulsions able to increase the heat deposition of high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), aiming to accelerate the tumour ablation in highly perfused organs with reduced side effects. The investigated droplets consisted of a perfluorooctyl bromide (PFOB) core coated with a biocompatible fluorinated surfactant called F-TAC. The novelty of this work relies on the use, for this application, of a high boiling point perfluorocarbon core (142 °C), combined with an in-house fluorinated surfactant to formulate the emulsion, yielding quasi-reversible strong interactions between the HIFU beam and the droplets. In order to fine-tune the emulsion size, surfactants with different hydrophobic/hydrophilic ratios were screened. Different concentrations of PFOB droplets were homogeneously embedded in two different MRI compatible materials, exhibiting either ultrasound (US) absorbing or non-absorbing properties. For the US absorbing TMM, the speed of sound at each droplet concentration was also assessed. These TMM were sonicated by 1 MHz HIFU with acoustical power of 94 W at two different duty cycles. The temperature elevation was monitored accurately by MRI proton shift resonance frequency in near real-time. The presence of sono-sensitive droplets induced a significant increase of the HIFU thermal effect that persisted under repeated sonication of the same locus. Optimal enhancement was observed at the lowest concentration tested (0.1%) with an additional temperature rise at the focal point of approximately 4 °C per applied kJ of acoustic energy corresponding to one order of magnitude augmentation of the thermal dose. Furthermore, no deformation of the heating pattern pre- or post-focal was observed.

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