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Adam Maxwell

Research Assistant Professor, Urology






Ultrasonic tweezers: Technology to lift and steer solid objects in a living body

In a recent paper, a CIMU team describes successful experiments to manipulate a solid object within a living body with ultrasound beams transmitted through the skin.

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15 Jul 2020

A collaborative, international research teams developed and tuned an ultrasound transducer to create vortex shaped beams that can trap, grab, levitate, and move in three dimensions mm-scale objects. The team is working to apply this technology to their all-in-one kidney stone treatment system that, in clinical trials, uses ultrasound to non-invasively break, erode, and move stones and stone fragments out of the kidney so that they may pass naturally from the body.

Mechanical Tissue Ablation with Focused Ultrasound

An experimental noninvasive surgery method uses nonlinear ultrasound pulses to liquefy tissue at remote target sites within a small focal region without damaging intervening tissues. A multi-institution, international team led by CIMU researchers is applying the method to the focal treatment of prostate tumors.

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19 Mar 2020

Boiling histotripsy utilizes sequences of millisecond-duration HIFU pulses with high-amplitude shocks that form at the focus by nonlinear propagation effects. Due to strong attenuation of the ultrasound energy at the shocks, these nonlinear waves rapidly heat tissue and generate millimeter-sized boiling bubbles at the focus within each pulse. Then the further interaction of subsequent shocks with the vapor cavity causes tissue disintegration into subcellular debris through the acoustic atomization mechanism.

The method was proposed at APL-UW in collaboration with Moscow State University (Russia) and now is being evaluated for various clinical applications. It has particular promise because of its important clinical advantages: the treatment of tissue volumes can be accelerated while sparing adjacent structures and not injuring intervening tissues; it generates precisely controlled mechanical lesions with sharp margins; the method can be implemented in existing clinical systems; and it can be used with real-time ultrasound imaging for targeting, guidance, and evaluation of outcomes. In addition, compared to thermal ablation, BH may lead to faster resorption of the liquefied lesion contents.

PIXUL: PIXelated ULtrasound Speeds Disease Biomarker Search

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26 Apr 2018

Accurate assessment of chromatin modifications can be used to improve detection and treatment of various diseases. Further, accurate assessment of chromatin modifications can have an important role in designing new drug therapies. This novel technology applies miniature ultrasound transducers to shear chromatin in standard 96-well microplates. PIXUL saves researchers hours of sample preparation time and reduces sample degradation.

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2000-present and while at APL-UW

Treating porcine abscesses with histotripsy: A pilot study

Matula, T.J., Y.-N. Wang, T. Khokhlova, D.F. Leotta, J. Kucewicz, A.A. Brayman, M. Bruce, A.D. Maxwell, B.E. MacConaghy, G. Thomas, V.P. Chernikov, S.V. Buravkov, V.A. Khokhlova, K. Richmond, K. Chan, W. Monsky, "Treating porcine abscesses with histotripsy: A pilot study," Ultrasound Med. Biol., 47, 603-619, doi:10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2020.10.011, 2021.

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1 Mar 2021

Infected abscesses are walled-off collections of pus and bacteria. They are a common sequela of complications in the setting of surgery, trauma, systemic infections and other disease states. Current treatment is typically limited to antibiotics with long-term catheter drainage, or surgical washout when inaccessible to percutaneous drainage or unresponsive to initial care efforts. Antibiotic resistance is also a growing concern. Although bacteria can develop drug resistance, they remain susceptible to thermal and mechanical damage. In particular, short pulses of focused ultrasound (i.e., histotripsy) generate mechanical damage through localized cavitation, representing a potential new paradigm for treating abscesses non-invasively, without the need for long-term catheterization and antibiotics. In this pilot study, boiling and cavitation histotripsy treatments were applied to subcutaneous and intramuscular abscesses developed in a novel porcine model. Ultrasound imaging was used to evaluate abscess maturity for treatment monitoring and assessment of post-treatment outcomes. Disinfection was quantified by counting bacteria colonies from samples aspirated before and after treatment. Histopathological evaluation of the abscesses was performed to identify changes resulting from histotripsy treatment and potential collateral damage. Cavitation histotripsy was more successful in reducing the bacterial load while having a smaller treatment volume compared with boiling histotripsy. The results of this pilot study suggest focused ultrasound may lead to a technology for in situ treatment of acoustically accessible abscesses.

First in-human burst wave lithotripsy for kidney stone comminution: Initial two case studies

Harper, J.D., I. Metzler, M.K. Hall, T.T. Chen, A.D. Maxwell, B.W. Cunitz, B. Dunmire, J. Thiel, J.C. Williams, M.R. Bailey, and M.D. Sorensen, "First in-human burst wave lithotripsy for kidney stone comminution: Initial two case studies," J. Endourol., EOR, doi:10.1089/end.2020.0725, 2020.

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1 Nov 2020

Purpose: To test the effectiveness (Participant A) and tolerability (Participant B) of urinary stone comminution in the first in-human trial of a new technology, burst wave lithotripsy (BWL).

Materials and Methods: An investigational BWL and ultrasonic propulsion system was used to target a 7-mm kidney stone in the operating room before ureteroscopy (Participant A). The same system was used to target a 7.5 mm ureterovesical junction stone in clinic without anesthesia (Participant B).

Results: For Participant A, a ureteroscope inserted after 9 minutes of BWL observed fragmentation of the stone to < 2 mm fragments. Participant B tolerated the procedure without pain from BWL, required no anesthesia, and passed the stone on day 15.

Conclusions: The first in-human tests of BWL pulses were successful in that a renal stone was comminuted in < 10 minutes, and BWL was also tolerated by an awake subject for a distal ureteral stone.

In vitro evaluation of urinary stone comminution with a clinical burst wave lithotripsy system

Ramesh, S., T.T. Chen, A.D. Maxwell, B.W. Cunitz, B. Dunmire, J. Thiel, J.C. Williams, A. Gardner, Z. Liu, I. Metzler, J.D. Harper, M.D. Sorensen, and M.R. Bailey, "In vitro evaluation of urinary stone comminution with a clinical burst wave lithotripsy system," J. Endourol., 34, 1167-1173, doi:10.1089/end.2019.0873, 2020.

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1 Nov 2020

Objective: Our goals were to validate stone comminution with an investigational burst wave lithotripsy (BWL) system in patient-relevant conditions and to evaluate the use of ultrasonic propulsion to move a stone or fragments to aid in observing the treatment endpoint.

Materials and Methods: The Propulse-1 system, used in clinical trials of ultrasonic propulsion and upgraded for BWL trials, was used to fragment 46 human stones (5–7 mm) in either a 15-mm or 4-mm diameter calix phantom in water at either 50% or 75% dissolved oxygen level. Stones were paired by size and composition, and exposed to 20-cycle, 390-kHz bursts at 6-MPa peak negative pressure (PNP) and 13-Hz pulse repetition frequency (PRF) or 7-MPa PNP and 6.5-Hz PRF. Stones were exposed in 5-minute increments and sieved, with fragments >2 mm weighed and returned for additional treatment. Effectiveness for pairs of conditions was compared statistically within a framework of survival data analysis for interval censored data. Three reviewers blinded to the experimental conditions scored ultrasound imaging videos for degree of fragmentation based on stone response to ultrasonic propulsion.

Results: Overall, 89% (41/46) and 70% (32/46) of human stones were fully comminuted within 30 and 10 minutes, respectively. Fragments remained after 30 minutes in 4% (1/28) of calcium oxalate monohydrate stones and 40% (4/10) of brushite stones. There were no statistically significant differences in comminution time between the two output settings (p = 0.44), the two dissolved oxygen levels (p = 0.65), or the two calyx diameters (p = 0.58). Inter-rater correlation on endpoint detection was substantial (Fleiss' kappa = 0.638, p < 0.0001), with individual reviewer sensitivities of 95%, 86%, and 100%.

Conclusions: Eighty-nine percent of human stones were comminuted with a clinical BWL system within 30 minutes under conditions intended to reflect conditions in vivo. The results demonstrate the advantage of using ultrasonic propulsion to disperse fragments when making a visual determination of breakage endpoint from the real-time ultrasound image.

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Ultrasound System for Shearing Cellular Material in a Microplate

Patent Number: 10,809,166

Tom Matula, Brian MacConaghy, Adam Maxwell

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20 Oct 2020

Disclosed embodiments include illustrative piezoelectric element array assemblies, methods of fabricating a piezoelectric element array assembly, and systems and methods for shearing cellular material. Given by way of non-limiting example, an illustrative piezoelectric element array assembly includes at least one piezoelectric element configured to produce ultrasound energy responsive to amplified driving pulses. A lens layer is bonded to the at least one piezoelectric element. The lens layer has a plurality of lenses formed therein that are configured to focus ultrasound energy created by single ones of the at least one piezoelectric element into a plurality of wells of a microplate disposable in ultrasonic communication with the lens layer, wherein more than one of the plurality of lenses overlie single ones of the at least one piezoelectric element.

Method and System for MRI-based Targeting, Monitoring, and Quantification of Thermal and Mechanical Bioeffects in Tissue Induced by High Intensity Focused Ultrasound

Example embodiments of system and method for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques for planning, real-time monitoring, control, and post-treatment assessment of high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) mechanical fractionation of biological material are disclosed. An adapted form of HIFU, referred to as "boiling histotripsy" (BH), can be used to cause mechanical fractionation of biological material. In contrast to conventional HIFU, which cause pure thermal ablation, BH can generate therapeutic destruction of biological tissue with a degree of control and precision that allows the process to be accurately measured and monitored in real-time as well as the outcome of the treatment can be evaluated using a variety of MRI techniques. Real-time monitoring also allow for real-time control of BH.

Patent Number: 10,694,974

Vera Khokhlova, Wayne Kreider, Adam Maxwell, Yak-Nam Wang, Mike Bailey


30 Jun 2020

Broadly Focused Ultrasonic Propulsion Probes, Systems, and Methods

Disclosed herein are ultrasonic probes and systems incorporating the probes. The probes are configured to produce an ultrasonic therapy exposure that, when applied to a kidney stone, will exert an acoustic radiation force sufficient to produce ultrasonic propulsion. Unlike previous probes configured to produce ultrasonic propulsion, however, the disclosed probes are engineered to produce a relatively large (both wide and long) therapy region effective to produce ultrasonic propulsion. This large therapy region allows the probe to move a plurality of kidney stones (or fragments from lithotripsy) in parallel, thereby providing the user the ability to clear several stones from an area simultaneously. This "broadly focused" probe is, in certain embodiments, combined in a single handheld unit with a typical ultrasound imaging probe to produce real-time imaging. Methods of using the probes and systems to move kidney stones are also provided.

Patent Number: 10,667,831

Mike Bailey, Bryan Cunitz, Barbrina Dunmire, Adam Maxwell, Oren Levy


2 Jun 2020

More Inventions

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center