Convened sessions

Electromagnetic-based Thermal Therapies (COST Action MyWAVE)

Chairs:  Lourdes Farrugia, University of Malta;  Emily Porter, National University of Ireland Galway


COST Action MyWAVE, entitled “European network for advancing electromagnetic hyperthermic medical technologies,” was recently approved, and will commence this summer. Building on the remarkable success of COST Actions MiMed and EMF-MED, the MyWAVE network will support innovation and research connections for the next generation of researchers. Bringing together engineers, scientists, medical professionals, and industry experts, the Action will focus on advancing electromagnetic (EM) thermal-based techniques for the treatment of disease. 

This proposed convened session will cover topics related to the MyWAVE working groups, including electromagnetic thermal therapeutic techniques (specifically hyperthermia and ablation), with subjects related to treatment planning, treatment monitoring, hardware and software developments, clinical evaluation, and the foundational thermal and dielectric properties for these techniques.

This convened session will bring together researchers in the field at a time when these technologies are almost ready to transition to clinical usage, and will kick-off the next phase of collaborations in this field, through COST Action MyWAVE. 

Microwave Medical (MiMed) Imaging

Chairs: Raquel C. Conceição, Instituto de Biofísica e Engenharia Biomédica, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal; Lorenzo Crocco, National Research Council of Italy, Naples, Italy

  

Research in medical Microwave Imaging worldwide has reached “critical mass”, with many research groups rapidly progressing towards pilot clinical studies. To date, the research has been primarily driven by engineers, with little or no input from clinicians or patients. In order for the clinical adoption of the technology, several important topics must be considered:

i) Revisiting dielectric properties of biological tissues

ii) The refining and optimisation of hardware and software prior to pilot patient studies

iii) The adoption of standard phantoms so research from varying groups can be directly compared

iv) Designing prototypes suitable for clinical evaluation, considering issues of safety, patient comfort and other related practicalities.

In this session, those groups who have direct experience dealing with these issues will present their work, highlighting the potential of the technology, while also helping more junior researchers to avoid common pitfalls. The impact of the session will be a much more informed research community where the translation from “bench to bedside” will be much less challenging and daunting. 

EMF technologies for remotely powering wearable and implantable devices

Chairs:  Valerio De Santis, University of L’Aquila, Italy;  Ilaria Liorni, IT’IS Foundation, Zurich, Switzerland 


Novel wireless technologies, such as Wireless Power Transfer (WPT), RFID and IoT, are recently exploded for medical applications. Not only wearable devices, but also pacemakers could be wirelessly charged in the next future. Thus, the feasibility of these technologies with special attention on the EMF safety will be addressed in this Special Session. Particular focus will be given on leadless pacemaker technology, that has recently faced the Research & Design stage. 

Special Sessions

EM based micromanipulation of cells: towards unprecedented applications in medicine and biology

Chairs: Caterina Merla, ENEA Division of Health Protection Technologies, Rome, Italy; Cristiano Palego, School of Electronic Engineering, Bangor University, UK


This special session investigates innovative ways of affecting cells using EMF as well as advanced modeling techniques. The proposed session will also provide a dissemination opportunity for the recently funded European FET-OPEN Project “SUMCASTEC” (http://www.sumcastec.eu) that pursues discrimination and neutralization of cancer stem cells (CSCs) applying broad-band EMFs. Cell level EMF applications are the first but crucial step towards revolutionary treatments in biology and medicine. This concept is at the base of the “SUMCASTEC” project that attempt to treat cancer targeting CSCs rather than highly differentiated and proliferating cells. CSCs are recognized as responsible for cancer recurrence and capacity to evade classical treatment as chemo and radio therapy. Other innovative uses of EMF will be presented in this special session focusing on the application of UHF signals for high sensitivity cell discrimination, combination of nanoparticles to increase the EMF effects, or the magnetic based permeabilization of cells. The new field of the onco-electronic and calcium signaling under the action of EMF will be also addressed, as well as innovative and versatile EMF cell modeling down to the molecular scale. 

Short courses

Application of machine learning to medical data

Chairs: Raquel C. Conceição, Instituto de Biofísica e Engenharia Biomédica, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal;  Branislav Gerazov, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Techonologies, University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje, FYR Macedonia 


A short course will give an overview introduction to Machine Learning algorithms, which can be used for signal and image analyses in various medical applications. This short tutorial will mainly cover supervised learning algorithms. 

The basics of the complete Machine Learning workflow will be presented: data loading, data exploration and visualization, data preprocessing, model training, model validation and model testing. Common mistakes in Machine Learning will also be discussed.

The code for the tutorial will be based on the scikit-learn package and the scientific Python ecosystem.

At the end, more advanced topics will be shortly presented including: feature engineering of radar microwave signals and applications of Machine Learning for classification of breast tumours and/or brain stroke based on microwave imaging.

Neuroimaging techniques in combination with TMS: state of the art and future perspectives

Chairs: Hartwig Roman Siebner and Leo Tomašević, Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance, Centre for Functional and Diagnostic Imaging and Research, Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre, Denmark 


TMS is a powerful technique able to directly stimulate and modulate the brain activity. All its potential has not been disclosed yet because of lack of knowledge about the effective mechanism of the stimulation and the variability of effects among subjects. Neuroimaging techniques, such as fMRI and EEG can solve these limitations, but we are still learning how to apply them correctly and how to interpret the results of the experiments.

The aim of the course is to introduce the audience to TMS, and to the potentials of combining it with fMRI and EEG. Then an overview will be given about these multimodal approaches, their actual limitations and future perspectives.