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15 Projects, page 1 of 3
  • Funder: French National Research Agency (ANR) Project Code: ANR-18-CE19-0006
    Funder Contribution: 446,016 EUR

    Many neuropsychiatric (e.g., major depression, autism) and neurodegenerative (e.g., Parkinson's disease) disorders are characterized by structural and functional alterations of the brain. In many situations, these cerebral alterations are associated with high drug resistance (e.g., depression) where 50% of patients do not show improvement after treatment: they are non-responders or resistant. In addition, these pathologies do not all have effective and safe treatments. In this context, neurostimulation approaches using electric fields (deep brain stimulation) or magnetic fields (transcranial magnetic stimulation) have been suggested as a therapeutic tool. While pilot studies have shown very promising results, these two methods of neurostimulation have severe limitations. Indeed, deep brain stimulation is an invasive method that requires intrusive procedures such as surgical implantation of electrodes thus limiting its application in humans. On the other hand, magnetic stimulation does not allow the stimulation of deep brain structures since it has a limited focusing capability and lacks brain penetration power and hence it is limited to superficial areas only. Recent studies carried out within the research unit Inserm Tours have shown that transcranial ultrasound application on the brain can induce noninvasive modifications of cerebral electrical activity in small animals. Indeed, a prototype allowing transcranial ultrasound stimulation in anesthetized mice has been developed. Specific ultrasound sequences were generated by a single element transducer and allowed the application of the waves to different brain regions. Acute ultrasound application of the motor cortex induced neuronal activation resulting in the contraction of skeletal muscles located in various parts of the rodent's body (e.g., tail, paws, whiskers). More interestingly, the repeated application of these stimulations on the medial prefrontal cortex of the mouse has made it possible to counteract the anxious behavior triggered by chronic stress. Although the stimulations are not focused and not optimized, these preliminary results are very encouraging and allow to consider new therapeutic opportunities of psychiatric or neurodegenerative diseases using ultrasound stimulation. This project, which brings together two public partners and one industrial partner, aims to optimize and validate the proof of concept of the ultrasound neurostimulation approach in different animal models of depression. More specifically, the objectives of the DEPAC project are: (i) development and evaluation of an ultrasound probe and device for brain stimulation of awake behaving small animals; (ii) optimizing and validating the effects of the repeated neurostimulation protocol using different animal models of depression and (iii) finally exploring the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effects of repeated ultrasound neurostimulation in the animal model of depression.

  • Funder: French National Research Agency (ANR) Project Code: ANR-10-TECS-0011
    Funder Contribution: 1,003,670 EUR

    More and more surgical techniques are evolving toward the use of minimally invasive technologies to reduce the morbidity of operations, reduce levels of pain, shorten hospital stays, and reduce associated costs. Currently, percutaneous radiofrequency (RF) or laser probes, guided in real-time by ultrasound or MRI imaging, are frequently used clinically for the successful treatment of bone, lung, liver and kidney metastases. The ASIMUT project's main objective is to replace RF or laser by high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), which can be focused in 3D to produce thermal injury that more closely conforms to the target tumor geometry. ASIMUT offers an innovative approach to exploring this new therapeutic technique by using interstitial transducers incorporating capacitive micromachined ultrasound transducers (cMUTs). The clinical objective of this project is to use cMUTs in HIFU arrays to develop a device for interstitial thermotherapy that allows conformational treatment of brain tumors under local anesthesia with real-time MRI imaging guidance. The consortium set up for the ASIMUT project includes 3 partners: Unit 556 of INSERM, a specialist in HIFU research for 20 years; Vermon, a company that has significant expertise in cMUT and ultrasound transducer technology for over a decade; and CarThera, a startup company whose primary mission is to develop innovative medical technology and to translate it to clinical practice. ASIMUT will include significant advances in both medical and technological contexts: • the realization of treatments that are more effective, less invasive, cost less, and that are more applicable to a significant number of patients by allowing for a single outpatient procedure that includes both diagnosis and ablation of specific brain tumors by using a MRI-guided interstitial probe. • an innovative approach is utilized that involves interstitial ultrasound transducers incorporating cMUTs to control the local ablation of brain tumors or cancerous tissue and utilizes a miniature probe to enable this technology to produce thermal injury to the conformational target tumor without the need for cooling of the probe during treatments (these 3 features are innovations of CMUT probes compared to other research projects involving HIFU probes) For the 3 years of the project, ASIMUT should lead to the achievement of preclinical testing in animals through the implementation of the 6 following tasks : • Task 1: Requirements definition and clinical conditions • Task 2: Design of the cMUT device for interstitial HIFU • Task 3: Fabrication and characterization of the cMUT devices • Task 4: Manufacturing of prototypes and experimental preclinical testing • Task 5: Experimental Validation & Qualification • Task 6: Preclinical Evaluation In the longer term, ASIMUT is part of a more ambitious project that aims to validate clinically the use of cMUT technology for other HIFU applications. This research will also take place under the proposed consortium with INSERM parties controlling the development of HIFU devices, Vermon ensuring the design and manufacture of transducers, and CarThera providing clinical expertise and implementation of preclinical trials.

  • Funder: French National Research Agency (ANR) Project Code: ANR-07-TECS-0015

    Le projet MONITHER vise à développer une nouvelle technologie ultrasonore pour une prise en charge thérapeutique adaptée en évaluant la réponse tumorale au traitement. L'approche est basée sur le développement de nouvelles méthodes d'imagerie de contraste et une nouvelle génération de technologie de sonde, les transducteurs capacitifs micro-usinés (CMUT). Le projet réunit des équipes aux compétences complémentaires en échographie de contraste, technologie de transducteurs et manufacturier de sondes. Les agents de contraste composés de microbulles gazeuses, offrent la possibilité d'effectuer un diagnostic différentiel en pathologie abdominale mais les résultats en pathologie mammaire restent mitigés. Nos études initiales ont démontré l'intérêt des agents de contraste pour la prise en charge thérapeutique en évaluant la vascularisation tumorale et les modifications respectivement avant et durant le traitement. Néanmoins, les méthodes actuelles manquent de sensibilité et de spécificité en raison certainement de l'inefficacité des microbulles aux fréquences requises pour fournir une résolution satisfaisante._x000D_ Le projet propose ainsi d'exploiter les qualités indéniables de la technologie CMUT et les avantages qu'offrent les microbulles en développant une technique simple et efficace pour l'évaluation précoce de la réponse thérapeutique, un élément déterminant pour le pronostic du cancer. Le programme MONITHER profitera de l'expertise disponible en cmut et en imagerie de contraste pour développer une technique plus simple, moins coûteuse et plus facile à organiser.

  • Funder: French National Research Agency (ANR) Project Code: ANR-15-CE19-0004
    Funder Contribution: 725,080 EUR

    Ultrasound imaging dates back to the seventies where it was introduced as a real-time imaging modality into clinics. Since then, ultrasound imaging has become a major imaging modality, mostly due to its real-time capabilities but also due to its versatility, portability and low cost compared to other imaging modalities. Ultrasound imaging is mainly used for screening, diagnosis and monitoring in many fields such as radiology cardiology, gynecology, gastroenterology, obstetrics, neonatology, neurology, ophthalmology, angiology. As a result of increasing life expectancy and declining fertility rates, the proportion of the population aged over 60 years is growing faster than any other age group. Consequently, the pressure to maintain the health and quality of life in ageing populations will continue to be a major challenge for healthcare systems, a challenge where ultrasound imaging as still a very important role to play. In the last decade, the Langevin Institute and SuperSonic Imagine have been at the core of the ultrafast ultrasound imaging revolution with the development of ultrafast scanners with hundreds of acquisition channels. In the new architecture, most of the imaging logic is implemented directly in software rather than in hardware. The flexibility and high quantity of acquired data available has enabled new imaging strategies based on synthetic focusing of the ultrasound field such as coherent plane wave compounding. This fundamental shift in the way of creating ultrasonic images has allowed the development of new imaging modalities which can reach thousands of frames per second with high quality. Ultrafast imaging is the key to drastically improve sensitivity of several imaging modes such as Doppler imaging but also enables the quantification of new highly promising features such as tissue elasticity based on shear wave imaging. Recently the introduction of 3D ultrasound imaging on high-end scanner has opened the possibilities to reduce operator dependence of the images by acquiring a full volume directly. 3D ultrasound imaging has seen a lot of developments in the last decade with new technology such as electronic beamforming integrated in the probe handle allowing real time framerate of dozens of volume per second, still far below ultrafast volumerate or required for Doppler imaging. Despite this limitation, 3D imaging sparkled strong interest in cardiology research where it is crucial to follow the heart mechanics in 3D. We believe that the combination of ultrafast and volumetric imaging will be the key for the development of new diagnostic applications in the next decades. As such, we recently demonstrated in vivo 3D shear wave elastography and 4D ultrasensitive Doppler thanks to our unique 4D ultrafast prototype with 1024 channels and matrix array built by Vermon. With the Ultrafast4D project, we believe that those breakthroughs can be combined in a single solution, ready to move clinical imaging even further : new highly promising quantitative features, no compromise high frame rate volume imaging, affordable package. The main objective of the Ultrafast4D project is to allow similar 4D imaging capabilities using available commercial ultrafast scanners (128-256 channels) thanks to smarter probe designs and novel imaging sequence schemes for a mucher lower cost. The project will be mainly focused on low cost 4D ultrafast cardiac imaging - a key differentiator for the involved companies - from prototype fabrication to in vivo cardiac volumic ultrafast acquisitions on healthy volunteers. The project also aims to explore other preclinical applications at higher frequencies for vascular imaging and preclinical functional ultrasound.

  • Funder: French National Research Agency (ANR) Project Code: ANR-17-ECVD-0007
    Funder Contribution: 137,423 EUR

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