Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Engineering Science


Biomedical Engineering


James Lacefield


Injection of dendritic cell (DC) vaccines into lymph nodes (LN) is a promising strategy for eliciting immune responses against cancer, but these injections in mouse cancer models are challenging due to the small target scale (~ 1 mm × 2 mm). Direct manual intranodal injection is difficult and can cause architectural damage to the LN, potentially disrupting crucial interactions between DC and T cells. Therefore, a second-generation ultrasound-guided mechatronic device has been developed to perform this intervention. A targeting accuracy of < 500 μm will enable targeted delivery of the DCs specifically to a LN subcapsular space. The device was redesigned from its original CT-guided edition, which used a remote centre of motion architecture, to be easily integrated onto a commercially available VisualSonics imaging rail system. Subtle modifications were made to ensure simple workflow that allows for live-animal interventions that fall within the knockout periods stated in study protocols. Several calibration and registration techniques were developed in order to achieve an overall targeting accuracy appropriate for the intended application. A variety of methods to quantify the positioning accuracy of the device were investigated. The method chosen involved validating a guided injection into a tissue-mimicking phantom using ultrasound imaging post-operatively to localize the end-point position of the needle tip in the track left behind by the needle. Ultrasound-guided injections into a tissue-mimicking phantom revealed a targeting accuracy of 285 ± 94 μm for the developed robot compared to 508 ± 166 μm for a commercial-available manually-actuated injection device from VisuailSonics. The utility of the robot was also demonstrated by performing in vivo injections into the lymph nodes of mice.