Dr. Adam Maxwell is a biomedical engineer whose research focuses on therapeutic ultrasound and other minimally invasive technologies to treat urologic conditions. He is also a member of the Center for Industrial and Medical Ultrasound at the Applied Physics Laboratory.
His lab has several active areas of research:
- Burst wave lithotripsy for urinary stones: Burst wave lithotripsy is a new technique to noninvasively fragment urinary tract stones using focused ultrasound pulses. Existing interventions for stones include shock wave lithotripsy which is noninvasive, but has limited efficacy and can produce collateral injury to the kidney. Our goal is to develop burst wave lithotripsy as a potentially safer and more effective noninvasive invention. We are investigating through experimental and computational models how acoustic waves propagate through stones and cause fragmentation. In addition, we study how focused ultrasound pulses interact with kidney tissue to determine potential adverse effects from different exposure parameters. From this research, we are determining effective and safe parameters for burst wave lithotripsy. Clinical trials for this technology have recently started at the UW and other institutions.
- Focused ultrasound histotripsy of the prostate: Histotripsy is a noninvasive focused ultrasound therapy that applies high-amplitude ultrasound pressure pulses to precisely disintegrate pathologic tissues through acoustic cavitation. Our lab works with several clinical and research collaborators to develop histotripsy for applications including benign prostatic (BPH) hyperplasia and prostate cancer. In particular, we are investigating how to modify histotripsy to more effectively disintegrate fibrous tissue structures in the prostate, which are correlated to symptomatic BPH. Our goals are to understand the physical and biological changes to tissues under histotripsy exposures, and advance the technology towards clinical use as a noninvasive option for BPH and prostate cancer treatments.
- Development of therapeutic ultrasound devices: Our lab specializes in development of high-power ultrasound therapy devices, including modeling, design, and fabrication of prototype therapy transducers and electronic systems. We have designed and created over 50 novel ultrasound transducer prototypes for biotechnology and medical applications, which are currently used in several US and international labs.