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Adam Maxwell

Research Assistant Professor, Urology






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.

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.

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23 Mar 2017

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.

Burst Wave Lithotripsy: An Experimental Method to Fragment Kidney Stones

CIMU researchers are investigating a noninvasive method to fragment kidney stones using ultrasound pulses rather than shock waves. Consecutive acoustic cycles accumulate and concentrate energy within the stone. The technique can be 'tuned' to create small fragments, potentially improving the success rate of lithotripsy procedures.

20 Nov 2014


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Mechanical decellularization of tissue volumes using boiling histotripsy

Wang, Y.-N., T.D. Khokhlova, S. Buravkov, V. Chernikov, W. Greider, A. Partanen, N. Farr, A. Maxwell, G.R. Schade, and V.A. Khokhlova, "Mechanical decellularization of tissue volumes using boiling histotripsy," Phys. Med. Biol., 6, 235023, doi:

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4 Dec 2018

High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is rapidly advancing as an alternative therapy for non-invasively treating specific cancers and other pathological tissues through thermal ablation. A new type of HIFU therapy — boiling histotripsy (BH) — aims at mechanical fractionation of into subcellular fragments, with a range of accompanying thermal effects that can be tuned from none to substantial depending on the requirements of the application. The degree of mechanical tissue damage induced by BH has been shown to depend on the tissue type, with collagenous structures being most resistant, and cellular structures being most sensitive. This has been reported for single BH lesions, but has not been replicated in large volumes. Such tissue selectivity effect has potential uses involving tissue decellularization for biofabrication technologies as well as mechanical ablation by BH while sparing critical structures. The goal of this study was to investigate tissue decellularization effect in larger, clinically relevant liquefied volumes of tissue, and to evaluate the accumulated thermal effect in the volumetric lesions under different exposure parameters. All BH exposures were performed with a 256-element 1.2-MHz array of a magnetic resonance imaging — guided HIFU (MR-HIFU) clinical system (Sonalleve V1, Profound Medical Inc, Mississauga, Canada). The volumetric BH lesions were produced in degassed ex vivo bovine liver using 1–10-ms long pulses with in situ shock amplitudes of 75–100 MPa at the focus and pulse repetition frequencies (PRFs) of 1–10 Hz covering a range of effects from pure mechanical homogenization to thermal ablation. Multimodal analysis of the lesions was then performed, including microstructure (histological), ultrastructure (electron microscopy), and molecular (biochemistry) methods. Results show a range of tissue effects in terms of the degree of tissue selectivity and the amount of heat generated in large BH lesions, thereby demonstrating potential for treatments tailored to different clinical applications.

Energy shielding by cavitation bubble clouds in burst wave lithotripsy

Maeda, K., A.D. Maxwell, T. Colonius, W. Kreider, and M.R. Bailey, "Energy shielding by cavitation bubble clouds in burst wave lithotripsy," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 144, 2952-2961, doi:10.1121/1.5079641, 2018

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1 Nov 2018

Combined laboratory experiment and numerical simulation are conducted on bubble clouds nucleated on the surface of a model kidney stone to quantify the energy shielding of the stone caused by cavitation during burst wave lithotripsy (BWL). In the experiment, the bubble clouds are visualized and bubble-scattered acoustics are measured. In the simulation, a compressible, multi-component flow solver is used to capture complex interactions among cavitation bubbles, the stone, and the burst wave. Quantitative agreement is confirmed between results of the experiment and the simulation. In the simulation, a significant shielding of incident wave energy by the bubble clouds is quantified. The magnitude of shielding can reach up to 90% of the energy of the incoming burst wave that otherwise would be transmitted into the stone, suggesting a potential loss of efficacy of stone comminution. There is a strong correlation between the magnitude of the energy shielding and the amplitude of the bubble-scattered acoustics, independent of the initial size and the void fraction of the bubble cloud within a range addressed in the simulation. This correlation could provide for real-time monitoring of cavitation activity in BWL.

Dependence of inertial cavitation induced by high intensity focused ultrasound on transducer F-number and nonlinear waveform distortion

Khokhlova, T., P. Rosnitskiy, C. Hunter, A. Maxwell, W. Kreider, G. Ter Haar, M. Costa, O. Sapozhnikov, and V. Khokhlova, "Dependence of inertial cavitation induced by high intensity focused ultrasound on transducer F-number and nonlinear waveform distortion," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 144, 1160, doi:10.1121/1.5052260, 2018.

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1 Sep 2018

Pulsed high intensity focused ultrasound was shown to enhance chemotherapeutic drug uptake in tumor tissue through inertial cavitation, which is commonly assumed to require peak rarefactional pressures to exceed a certain threshold. However, recent studies have indicated that inertial cavitation activity also correlates with the presence of shocks at the focus. The shock front amplitude and corresponding peak negative pressure (p–) in the focal waveform are primarily determined by the transducer F-number: less focused transducers produce shocks at lower p–. Here, the dependence of inertial cavitation activity on the transducer F-number was investigated in agarose gel by monitoring broadband noise emissions with a coaxial passive cavitation detector (PCD) during pulsed exposures (pulse duration 1 ms, pulse repetition frequency 1 Hz) with p– varying within 1–15 MPa. Three 1.5 MHz transducers with the same aperture, but different focal distances (F-numbers 0.77, 1.02, 1.52) were used. PCD signals were processed to extract cavitation probability, persistence, and mean noise level. At the same p–, all metrics indicated enhanced cavitation activity at higher F-numbers; specifically, cavitation probability reached 100% when shocks formed at the focus. These results provide further evidence supporting the excitation of inertial cavitation at reduced p– by waveforms with nonlinear distortion and shocks.

More Publications


Time-reversal based ultrasound system for processing biological samples

Record of Invention Number: 48375

Brian MacConaghy, Adam Maxwell


10 Jul 2018

Targeting Methods and Devices for Non-invasive Therapy Delivery

Record of Invention Number: 48305

Bryan Cunitz, Mike Bailey, Barbrina Dunmire, Michael Kennedy Hall, Adam Maxwell, Matthew Sorenson


11 Apr 2018

Audio Feedback for Improving the Accuracy of BWL Targeting

Record of Invention Number: 48254

Mike Bailey, Bryan Cunitz, Barbrina Dunmire, Christopher Hunter, Wayne Kreider, Adam Maxwell, Yak-Nam Wang


25 Jan 2018

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