Microwave Technologies

Our microwave research area is broad and focuses both on diagnostics, imaging, and treatment applications. Novel concepts being developed include microwave tomography for 3D breast tumor detection and visualization, hemorrhage detection for stroke and other diagnoses, and hyperthermia treatment of cancer.

Microwave based cancer treatment

Cancer is a leading cause of death in the western countries, preceded only by cardiovascular diseases. An improved treatment of cancer would lead to an improved life expectancy of the population. Recent decades of clinical research has shown that addition of hyperthermia to radiation or to chemotherapy improves cure rates of locally advanced tumors.

Despite the technological advantages that have been made in selectively increasing the temperature of tumor tissue, there are still considerable limitations on the ability to deliver prescribed thermal dose. In particular, the clinically achievable temperatures are 40-41C instead of goal temperature of 43C. Our approach to resolve this problem is to develop an applicator that is capable of modifying the focus size depending of the tumor position and volume. Adaptation of a heating pattern is firstly planned by using of novel focusing technique based on time reversal and later realized by specifically developed antenna applicator. Our approach has potential to overcome limitations of present techniques and create new standarts of hyperthermia treatment, which makes the treatment more accessible to patients. Read more

Microwave based breast cancer detection

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer amongst women in Sweden. The prognosis for the treatment is very good if the cancer is found at an early stage. X-ray mammography is successfully used for screening. Although about 20% of the tumors cannot be detected with this technique. In a MedTech West project a microwave based breast cancer imaging system is being developed, with the aim of improving the detection rate.

Our technique is based on the existence of a large contrast in dielectric properties between tumors and healthy tissue. Microwave measurements are performed and used in an algorithm to reconstruct internal images of the breast. The ability to create 3D images makes it easier to identify tumors. However, this technology is very computationally heavy and it is not until recent years that the required computational resources have become available. An advantage for the patient is that this technique needs neither breast compression nor the use of ionizing radiation. Thanks to the large contrast between tissues, our technique has the potential to become both sensitive and specific to the tumors. Read more

Microwave based stroke diagnostics

In Sweden 30000 patients suffer a stroke every year. About 20 % of these patients decease and the other 80 % often face long term rehabilitation. Stroke is also the most expensive disease for the society. In a MedTech West project a microwave based diagnostic system is being developed allowing earlier and more successful treatment than today.

Our technique aims at determining if a bleeding or a blood clot causes a patient’s stroke. The preferred treatment for clot is thrombolysis, which should be given as early as possible for best effect. This treatment must not be given to bleeding patients. Our technique transmits microwave radiation through the skull in many different directions. It is then received on the other side and analyzed with advanced signal processing algorithms in order to perform the diagnostics. In the future, our technique will make it possible to start the thrombolysis already in the ambulance, thereby largely increasing the number of patients that receives this treatment and also the chances for successful treatment. Read more