SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR ENERGY DELIVERY TO A TISSUE USING AN ELECTRODE ARRAY
Devices, systems, and related methods for electric fields delivery for preferential destruction of cancerous cells and tissue ablation.
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The present invention is a Continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 12/761,915, filed Apr. 16, 2010, which claims the benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/170,085, filed Apr. 16, 2009, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to electric field delivery to a tissue of a patient. More particularly, the present invention provides systems, devices and related methods for electric fields delivery, e.g., for destruction of cancerous cells and tissue ablation.
Tissue heating for cancer tissue hyperthermia includes treatment in which the temperature of either local tissue or the whole body is raised to a therapeutic level for the destruction of tumors. Cancer hyperthermia has been studied for the last several decades, with research often focusing on the combined effects of hyperthermia on cells and other treatments such as ionizing radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
While study results provide promising evidence and rationale supporting application of hyperthermia in cancer treatment, implementation remains difficult. Perhaps the most significant obstacle for practical application of hyperthermia is the generation and accurate control of heating to tumor tissues. Effective temperature ranges are narrow, with excessive temperatures indiscriminately destroying both healthy tissue and tumor tissue alike, and insufficient heating or low temperatures having minimal or no effect. Conventional existing methods for whole body heating include, for example, hot wax, hot air, hot water, fluid perfusion, RF fields and microwaves. However, existing equipment and methodologies have so far been inadequate in delivering accurate and controlled heating to tissues in more optimal temperature ranges, particularly to sub-surface or deep-seated tissues.
Accordingly, there is a continuing interest to develop devices and methods for accurate and controlled heating of tumor tissues and tissues including cancerous cells.
The present invention provides systems, devices and related methods for applying electric fields to a tissue of a patient. Using methods and structures as described herein, current fields or electrical current can be delivered for destruction (e.g., preferential destruction) of cancerous cells and tissue ablation and, where desired, controlled for more precisely delivering a temperature gradient applied to the tissue. Methods and devices of the present invention will generally be designed to advance or control, with use of control module structures and assemblies described herein, an electrode or plurality of electrodes to a target tissue region and apply an electric field to the target tissue region. The electrode or plurality thereof can be positioned such that the applied electric field extends or radiates through the target tissue region. Electrode positioning and energy delivery can be selected and controlled so as to apply a more constant or substantially even voltage field distribution through the target tissue. Energy application can optionally be selected so as to deliver mild and controlled heating of the target tissue to a desired temperature or range.
In one embodiment, the present invention includes a control module assembly and related methods. A control module can include a housing having a first portion forming a plurality of housing channels, each housing channel configured to receive an elongate medical electrode; a circuit board carried by the housing and comprising a plurality of board channels, each board channel configured to receive and electrically couple to an elongate medical electrode, wherein the first portion and the circuit board are coupled such that the housing channels align with the board channels so as to form elongate medical electrode guide passages through the housing and circuit board; and a power source input.
In another embodiment, a control module assembly can include a plurality of electrode guides, e.g., disposed in a housing unit or assembly, configured for controlled positioning in a target tissue an array of electrodes advanced through the guides. The control module further includes a plurality of electrical connects each disposed within an electrode guide and a power source input, and electronics such as computer readable storage media including operating instructions for performing current delivery to a tissue of the patient. Current delivery, in one embodiment, may include differentially activate two or more groups of electrodes positioned in the guides in seriatim; and provide electrical current to the electrodes so as to establish a current flow radially or in a plurality of different directions through a volume of the tissue and to preferentially destroy cancerous or hyperplastic cells in the target tissue region.
A method and structures for delivering an electrical treatment field to a tissue of a patient are provided. A method can include providing a control module assembly and positioning an array of elongate medical electrodes in a target tissue region. Electrode positioning can include advancing an elongate medical electrode through an electrode passage of the control module. A method can further include activating one or more groups of positioned electrodes so as to establish electrical current flow through a volume of the tissue.
In another embodiment, the present invention provides methods and systems for preferential destruction of cancerous cells of a target tissue of a patient. A system can include a control module assembly and a plurality of elongate medical electrodes configured for advancement and positioning through guide passages of the control module and into a target tissue region of the patient.
For a fuller understanding of the nature and advantages of the present invention, reference should be made to the ensuing detailed description and accompanying drawings. Other aspects, objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the drawings and detailed description that follows.
The present invention includes systems, methods and devices for applying electric fields to a target tissue using an array of electrodes. Systems and methods as provided herein can be designed and/or utilized for preferential destruction of cancerous cells and tissue ablation and/or controllable tissue heating. In particular, the present invention provides control module systems and assemblies, as well as methodologies for current delivery to a tissue of a patient making use of the provided structures.
Energy application and delivery using control module systems and structures according to the present invention can optionally offer several advantages. First, where tissue heating is desired, energy delivery according to the present invention advantageously allows a more controlled or precise therapeutic energy dose both in terms of delivery of the desired current and resulting hyperthermia effects, as well as more accurate delivery to the target or intended tissue. Current flow can be established between electrodes in a bipolar arrangement, with current flow established and substantially contained between the spaced electrodes. Tissue heating can be more precisely controlled to prevent or minimize excessive or undesirable heating patterns and/or hot spots that can cause unintended damage to healthy or non-target tissues. For example, energy delivery can be selected (e.g., frequency ranges between about 50 kHz to about 300 kHz) such that tissue heating occurs significantly, and in some cases predominately, due to tissue resistance, rather than the high-frictional heating observed at high frequencies (e.g., 500 kHz or greater).
Another optional advantage of the present inventive methods and systems is that energy delivery as described has been observed to be surprisingly effective in preferentially damaging and destroying cancerous cells compared to non-cancerous or healthy cells/tissue. Preferential damage or destruction, as described herein, refers to establishing current flow as described such that cytotoxic effects of energy application are, on average or as a whole, more damaging, destructive and/or lethal to cancerous or hyperplastic cells (e.g., cells exhibiting or predisposed to exhibiting unregulated growth) compared to non-cancerous or healthy cells. In some instances, establishing current flow, which can include induction of mild hyperthermia (e.g., average tissue heating generally below about 50 degrees C.) as described herein is remarkably effective in preferentially destroying cancerous cells with limited or no observable damage to non-cancerous tissues.
Furthermore, and without being bound by any particular theory, electrode configuration and field application as described in certain embodiments (e.g., radially and/or in a plurality of different directions) may take advantage of tumor or mitotic cell physiology to increase treatment effectiveness, and can include a more optimal or effective orientation of the applied field with respect to dividing cells of the target region. For example, energy application can be accomplished such that current fields are substantially aligned at some point during energy delivery with division axes of dividing cells (e.g., cancerous cells), thereby more effectively disrupting cellular processes or mitotic events (e.g., mitotic spindle formation and the like). As cancerous cells are dividing at a higher rate compared to non-cancerous cells, field application in this manner may preferentially damage cancerous cells compared to healthy or non-dividing cells. It will be recognized, however, that energy application according to the present invention likely has several or numerous cytotoxic effects on cells of the target region and that such effects may be cumulatively or synergistically disruptive to a target cell, particularly to cells disposed or pre-disposed to unregulated growth (i.e., cancerous cells). Other cytotoxic or disruptive effects of the energy application as describe herein may occur due, for example, to application of mild hyperthermia (e.g., mild heating of tissue between about 40 to 48 degrees C.; or less than about 50 degrees C.); ion disruption, disruption of membrane stability, integrity or function; and the like.
Various electrode or probe configurations can be utilized according to the present invention. In one embodiment, electrodes can include an array of needle electrodes or elongate medical electrodes, which can be fixed to common support (e.g., housing) or separately positionable and controlled. Such a plurality or array of electrodes can include a straight-needle array including electrically conductive material such as stainless steel, gold, silver, etc. or combination thereof. Electrodes may be at least partially insulated, e.g., along a needle length. For example, a needle may include a non-insulated or minimally insulated energy delivery or conductive portion that is generally located distally along the electrode length, and may further include an insulated portion or length along the needle (e.g., proximally to the non-insulated portion). An insulated portion will be configured to substantially prevent current flow into the tissue at the insulated portion. An electrode can include one or more than one non-insulated or energy delivery portions. An array of straight-needle electrodes can be coupled to a rigid needle support or housing that can ensure correct positioning of each individual needle relative to the others. The needles can be arranged parallel to one another with opposing rows and/or columns of electrodes ensuring the field is delivered to and contained within the target area. Needle length and needle spacing can vary depending on the actual dimensions of the target tissue. Individual needle placement can be guided using imaging (e.g., ultrasound, X-ray, etc.) and relative needle position can be maintained with a rigid grid support (e.g., housing, template, etc.) that remains outside the body. The needle assembly will electrically connect to the control system or module, e.g., via electrical contact point(s), insulated wires, stainless steel couplings, and the like. Other electrode designs and configurations (e.g., deployable, inflatable, etc.) may find use according to the present invention.
Electrodes and probes of the present invention can be coupled to control system or control module designed to generate, deliver, control and optionally monitor the characteristics of the applied field within the specified treatment parameters. In one embodiment, a control system includes a power source, an alternating current (AC) inverter, a signal generator, a signal amplifier, an oscilloscope, an operator interface and/or monitor and a central processing unit (CPU). The control unit can manually, automatically, or by computer programming or control, monitor, and/or display various processes and parameters of the energy application through electrodes and to the target tissue of the patient. While the control system and power source can include various possible frequency ranges, current frequency delivered to target tissue will be less than about 300 kHz, and typically about 50 kHz to about 250 kHz (e.g., 100 kHz). Frequencies in this range have been observed as effective in precisely controlling the energy application to the target tissue, controlling thermal effects primarily to mild thermal application, and preferentially destroying cancerous cells with limited or no observable damage to non-cancerous tissues.
Energy application according to the present invention can be selected to include mild or low levels of hyperthermia. In some embodiments, small changes/elevations in temperature in the target tissue region may occur, but will typically be no more than about 10 degrees C. above body temperature, and may be about 2 degrees to less than about 10 degrees C. above body temperature (e.g., normal human body temperature of about 38 degrees C.). Thus, local tissue temperatures (e.g., average tissue temperature in a volume of treated tissue) during treatment will typically be less than about 50 degrees C., and typically within a range of about 40-48 degrees C. In one embodiment, average target tissue temperature will be selected at about 42-45 degrees C. As target tissue temperatures rise above about 40-42 degrees C. during treatment, the cytotoxic effects of energy delivery on cancerous cells of the target region are observably enhanced, possibly due to an additive and/or synergistic effect of current field and hyperthermic effects. Where mild hyperthermic effects are substantially maintained below about 48 degrees C., the energy delivery according to the present invention appears to more preferentially destroy cancerous cells compared to healthy or non-cancerous cells of the target tissue region. Where energy delivery induces tissue heating substantially in excess of about 45-48 degrees C. (e.g., particularly above 48-50 degrees C.), the preferential cytotoxic effects on cancerous cells may begin to diminish, with more indiscriminate destruction of cancerous and non-cancerous cells occurring. Thus, a significant advantage of treatment methods according to the present invention includes the ability to precisely and accurately control energy delivery and induced hyperthermic effects, such that tissue hyperthermia can be accurately controlled and maintained in a desired temperature range(s)—e.g., temperature ranges selected for more targeted or preferential destruction of cancerous cells compared to non-cancerous cells.
Methods and structures of the present invention can include one or more of various different treatment modalities, including delivery of current or energy selected for low-heat ablation, mild hyperthermia, as well as more traditional forms of thermal ablation. Treatment can be delivered in more or more different treatment phases or stages, and may include a single treatment modality or multiple different treatment modalities delivered in different treatment stages or phases.
Tissue temperatures can be selected or controlled in several ways. In one embodiment, tissue temperatures can be controlled based on estimated or known characteristics of the target tissue, such as tissue impedance and tissue volume, blood flow or perfusion characteristics, and the like, with energy application to the tissue selected to deliver an approximated controlled mild increase in tissue temperature. In another embodiment, tissue temperature can be actively detected or monitored, e.g., by use of a feedback unit, during treatment, with temperature measurements providing feedback control of energy delivery in order to maintain a desired target tissue temperature or range. Temperature control measures can include electronics, programming, thermosensors and the like, coupled with or included in a control unit or module of a system of the invention. Systems may use any combination of techniques described. Further, use of additional heating/cooling means (e.g., temperature controlled air, fluid, radiation, and the like) may be utilized in addition to electrode based heating to facilitate control and delivery of the desired treatment temperature to the target tissue.
Energy application to a target tissue region according to the present application can include delivery of various types of energy delivery. As described, application of generally intermediate frequency range (e.g., less than about 300 kHz) alternating current in the RF range has been observed as effective in establishing mild heating and hyperthermia, as well as current fields in a controlled manner so as to provide a cytotoxic effect, and in some instances, a preferential destructive effect to cancerous cells of a target tissue volume/region. It will be recognized, however, that additional energy applications and/or ranges may be suitable for use according to the present invention, and that systems and methods of the present invention may be amenable to use with other or additional energy applications. For example, energy application can include current flow having frequencies found generally in the RF range, as well as microwave range, including higher frequencies such as 300-500 kHz and above, and may further be amenable to use with direct current applications. Applied current can be pulsed and/or continuously applied, and energy delivery can be coupled with a feedback-type system (e.g., thermocouple positioned in the target tissue) to maintain energy application and/or tissue heating in a desired range.
In certain embodiments, particularly where energy application is selected for lower power delivery/ablation, the control system can be designed to be battery powered and is typically isolated from ground. AC current is derived from the integrated power inverter. An intermediate frequency (e.g., less than 300 kHz; or about 50 kHz to about 250 kHz) alternating current, sinusoidal waveform signal is produced from the signal generator. The signal is then amplified, in one non-limiting example to a current range of 5 mA to 50 mA and voltage of up to 20 Vrms per zone. Field characteristics including waveform, frequency, current and voltage are monitored by an integrated oscilloscope. Scope readings are displayed on the operator interface monitor. An integrated CPU monitors overall system power consumption and availability and controls the output of the signal generator and amplifier based on the treatment parameters input by the operator. The operator can define treatment parameters to include maximum voltage, maximum current or temperature, maximum power, and the like.
Imaging systems and devices can be included in the methods and systems of the present invention. For example, the target tissue region can be identified and/or characterized using conventional imaging methods such as ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scanning, X-ray imaging, nuclear imaging, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electromagnetic imaging, and the like. In some embodiments, characteristics of the tumor, including those identified using imaging methods, can also be used in selecting ablation parameters, such as energy application as well as the shape and/or geometry of the electrodes. Additionally, these or other known imaging systems can be used for positioning and placement of the devices and/or electrodes in a patient's tissues.
A system and method for delivering electric fields according to the present invention is described with reference to
Energy delivery between positioned electrodes in an array is further described with reference to
In some embodiments of therapeutic energy delivery according to the present invention, electrode positioning and/or device configuration advantageously allows delivery of field throughout a target tissue volume in a plurality of different directions, such as radial field orientation and application through the target volume. Again, current delivery as described can be accomplished with use of a control module assembly or structure as described further herein. Besides the simplified electrode pairs as illustrated in
In another embodiment of the present invention, systems and methods can include a plurality of electrodes (e.g., needle electrodes) that can be individually advanced and positioned in the target tissue, and electrically activated for energy delivery. In such an embodiment, an array of electrodes can be advanced through the tissue of the patient and electrically activated (e.g., differentially activated) to deliver current field in a plurality of different directions. An array or plurality as described can include various numbers of electrodes, and the selected number can depend, at least partially, on factors such as target tissue characteristics, treatment region, needle size, and the like. An array can include a few to dozens of electrodes. In one example, an array can include about a few electrodes to a few hundred (e.g., 10-100, any number therebetween, or more) electrodes for positioning in the target tissue region. Energy deliver can include activating electrode pairs or groups differentially in a sequence or pattern, which can be selected based on a predetermined treatment plan, actively monitored during energy deliver (e.g., via feedback signal(s)), or a combination thereof.
A system according to an embodiment of the present invention is described with reference to
A control unit can include a, e.g., a computer or a wide variety of proprietary or commercially available computers or systems having one or more processing structures, a personal computer, and the like, with such systems often comprising data processing hardware and/or software configured to implement any one (or combination of) the method steps described herein. Any software will typically include machine readable code of programming instructions embodied in a tangible media such as a memory, a digital or optical recovering media, optical, electrical, or wireless telemetry signals, or the like, and one or more of these structures may also be used to transmit data and information between components of the system in any wide variety of distributed or centralized signal processing architectures.
Components of the system, including the controller, can be used to control the amount of power or electrical energy delivered to the target tissue. Energy may be delivered in a programmed or pre-determined amount or may begin as an initial setting with modifications to the electric field being made during the energy delivery and ablation process. In one embodiment, for example, the system can deliver energy in a “scanning mode”, where electric field parameters, such as applied voltage and frequency, include delivery across a predetermined range. Feedback mechanisms can optionally be used to monitor the electric field delivery in scanning mode and select from the delivery range parameters optimal for ablation of the tissue being targeted.
Systems and devices of the present invention can, though not necessarily, be used in conjunction with other systems, ablation systems, cancer treatment systems, such as drug delivery, local or systemic delivery, surgery, radiology or nuclear medicine systems, and the like. Another advantage of certain embodiments of the present invention, is that treatment does not necessarily preclude follow-up treatment with other approaches, including conventional approaches such as surgery and radiation therapy. In some cases, treatment according to the present invention can occur in conjunction or combination with therapies such as chemotherapy. Similarly, devices can be modified to incorporate components and/or aspects of other systems, such as drug delivery systems, including drug delivery needles, electrodes, etc.
It is understood that the examples and embodiments described herein are for illustrative purposes only and that various modifications or changes in light thereof will be suggested to persons skilled in the art and are to be included within the spirit and purview of this application and scope of the appended claims. Numerous different combinations are possible, and such combinations are considered part of the present invention.
1. A control module assembly, comprising:
- a housing having a first portion forming a plurality of housing channels, each housing channel configured to receive an elongate medical electrode;
- a circuit board carried by the housing and comprising a plurality of board channels, each board channel configured to receive and electrically couple to an elongate medical electrode, wherein the first portion and the circuit board are coupled such that the housing channels align with the board channels so as to form elongate medical electrode guide passages through the housing and circuit board; and
- a power source input configured to couple a power source to the circuit board so as to deliver electrical current to electrical couplings of the board channels.
Filed: Mar 31, 2014
Publication Date: Oct 9, 2014
Applicants: LaZure Scientific, Inc. (Issaquah, WA), LaZure Technologies, LLC (La Conner, WA)
Inventors: Larry Azure (La Conner, WA), Charles E. Hill (Issaquah, WA), Andrew L. Azure (Mount Vernon, WA)
Application Number: 14/231,272
International Classification: A61B 18/12 (20060101);