Hydrogels as a water bolus during hyperthermia treatment
Journal article, 2019
The feasibility of using hydrogels as a water bolus during hyperthermia treatment was assessed. Three types of gels, high methoxyl (HM) pectin/alginate, xanthan/locust bean gum (LBG) and xanthan/LBG/agarose were evaluated based on their dielectric, rheological and mechanical properties. The most suitable, xanthan/LBG/agarose gel was further used as a water bolus in a hyperthermia array applicator. The gels composed of polysaccharides carrying low charge displayed dielectric properties close to those of water, while the dielectric properties of HM pectin/alginate gel was deemed unsuitable for the current application. The mechanical examination shows that the xanthan/LBG gel has a non-brittle behaviour at room temperature, in contrast to the agarose gel. The moduli of the xanthan/LBG gel weaken however considerably between the temperature range of 40 °C and 50 °C, reducing its potential to be used as water bolus. The ternary system of xanthan/LBG/agarose had advantageous behaviour as it was dominated by the thermal hysteresis typical of agarose upon temperature increase, but governed by the typical non-brittle behaviour of the xanthan/LBG at low temperatures. The final evaluation within the hyperthermia applicator showed excellent signal transmission from the antennas. The agarose/xanthan/LBG gel reduced the scattering of electromagnetic waves, enabled a tight closure between the body and the antennas, and offered a less bulky solution than the currently used water-filled plastic bags. The results presented here open up a new application area for hydrogels in improving heat delivery during hyperthermia treatment and other near-field microwave applications.